Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,772 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 0.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 A Home at the End of the World
Lowest review score: 0 Lethal Weapon 4
Score distribution:
7,772 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. What results is a thoughtful, analytical yet still emotional film, meticulously investigated and absolutely compelling.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Twenty-four years later -- digitally spruced up, with some scenes shaved and others padded with previously cut material -- Scott's film still shreds nerves.
  6. 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."
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Scrupulously fair-minded yet deliciously ambiguous, What Alice Found, a triumph of sound psychological and artistic judgment, is an unexpected treat for sophisticated audiences.
  13. A beautifully made, unapologetically artistic piece of work.
  14. Smart and stylish, Disney's Teacher's Pet is one family film that has appeal for adults as well as children.
  15. 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.
  16. 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."
  17. Alternately satirical and romantic, full of pain and humor, Buffalo '66 is a winner.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. There's nothing casual about the way this film has been put together, yet that painstaking care leads to laughter that is completely unrestrained.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Smart and beguiling, it manages the impressive feat of believing wholeheartedly in the power of love without checking its mind at the door.
  24. 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.
  25. 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."
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Working with excellent site-specific music and this trio of exemplary -- and exceptionally well-cast -- actresses, director Bertuccelli does a superb job of touching just the right emotional notes in recounting the consequences of deception and the importance of family.
  29. It's all terribly tortured, often laugh-out-loud, absurdly funny and, as with all of Maddin's movies, conveyed through images that are as lush and beautifully over the top as the story's emotions.
  30. Director Demme has done other potent and meaningful films, but The Agronomist defers to none of them in its effectiveness and its power.
  31. The more things change, the more we have to laugh if we are to have a prayer of remaining sane, and the Pythons are the best possible step in that direction.
  32. What makes this film special, as in his other films, is the getting there. Téchiné is the master of subtle shifts in mood, an acute delineator of psychological interplay, and therefore demands the utmost of his actors.
  33. Moving and invaluable.
  34. It's a laff riot that also contains a torrent of scathing social satire that couldn't be more timely in light of the dismantling of affirmative action.
  35. One of the most harrowing and plausible visions of apocalypse since George A. Romero's 1968 zombie shocker, "Night of the Living Dead."
  36. Bridges turns a two-dimensional image into a presence so vital, so filled with breath and blood, that you uneasily fall in love with his character and abandon all thought of the artifice that's brought it to life.
  37. 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.
  38. Think of writer-director Waters as the Frank Capra of an alternate universe and this film as his genially twisted version of "It's a Wonderful Life," and you'll begin to understand.
  39. Rarely does pop come with such sizzle.
  40. A bravura act of self-revelation, its vivid portrait of one man's fears, fantasies and neuroses uses a mixture of reality, imagination and comedy to create one of the writer-director's most involving films.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. As a result of Mann's craftsmanship and concern, Collateral crackles with energy and purpose, a propulsive film with character on its mind and confident men and women on both sides of the camera.
  44. The vigorous Bang Rajan moves with a sure sense of direction and authority to its major culminating battle, a singularly savage and wrenching encounter that for all its bloodshed is never exploitative and concludes the film on a resounding note of tragic grandeur.
  45. 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.
  46. Taut, atmospheric, impeccably made psychological thriller.
  47. Soulful and reflective film, as gentle as it is potent.
  48. Though he's adapting the same story Grisham always tells, that of an ethical, talented and inexperienced attorney taking on and outwitting powerful and corrupt legal opponents, Coppola has infused The Rainmaker with enough humor, character, honest emotion and storytelling style to make it one of the year's most entertaining movies.
  49. A remarkable and remarkably compelling document.
  50. Genteelly erotic, surprisingly emotional, exquisitely made from start to finish.
  51. There's such a rich sense of the fullness of life in Moolaadé that it sustains those passages that are truly and necessarily harrowing.
  52. Cassavetes' riveting film not only re-creates the glory days of the Z Channel through a generous offering of film clips and interviews, but also presents a clear-eyed portrait of its creative driving force, Jerry Harvey, and the tragic circumstances of his death.
  53. One terrific concert film.
  54. By turns heartbreaking, amusing and disturbing, the film features people from different regions, economic classes and religions, recounting stories that are sometimes bleak, sometimes encouraging, but always compelling.
  55. A gloriously cynical black comedy that functions as a wicked smart satire on the interlocking worlds of politics and show business, Wag the Dog confirms every awful thought you've ever had about media manipulation and the gullibility of the American public. And it has a great deal of fun doing it.
  56. Marvin's performance, much enhanced by "The Reconstruction," is a marvel.
  57. Intelligently written and directed with a pleasing frankness by Bill Condon and well played by Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and a strong supporting cast, the film skillfully uses the forms of old Hollywood to tell a story that would have given heart failure to Harry Cohn and his fellow tycoons.
  58. With Bad Education, Almodóvar is at his most breathtakingly complex and mature, and at his most pessimistic.
  59. Director Wong is at his best in this rerelease of the 1991 film.
  60. As atmospheric and moody as a film noir, the stylish, sometimes perplexing Purple Butterfly is a remarkable period piece, evoking the bustling, dense and increasingly dangerous Shanghai of the '30s
  61. An exquisitely evocative movie that elevates rueful melancholia to a superpower.
  62. Bardem's performance is a marvel of restraint and control, both physical and emotional.
  63. Denis and Testud, in a wondrous collaboration of a gifted director and equally gifted actress, succeed in making Christine a tragic figure.
  64. 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.
  65. The most accurate assault against the media age since "Network," To Die For's killer lines and wicked sensibility are given added poignancy by the off-center, sensitive performance of Joaquin Phoenix, River's younger brother, the only person more deluded about Suzanne than she is about herself.
  66. 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.
  67. This altogether remarkable film is as much of a paradox as Nong Toom: at once poetic and sensitive yet as gritty and hard-hitting as any boxing movie.
  68. Intelligent, involving and serious, it is as honestly emotional as Hollywood allows itself to get, a story of the search for wartime truth whose own concern for the genuine makes all the difference.
  69. Swimming Upstream evokes time and place without being showy about it and offers an altogether invigorating experience.
  70. This witty and tender 1966 gem remains as timeless and fresh as ever.
  71. 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.
  72. Kontroll is in fact an allegory, but one that oozes a gritty, dynamic realism.
  73. 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.
  74. Brilliantly choreographed and shot, Kung Fu Hustle is often grisly, visually spectacular and unabashedly silly, sometimes all at once.
  75. The film is a terrific scare show, fast and furious, made with a lot of style and energy, packing plenty of jolts yet never lingering morbidly over horrific images. It is anchored in strong characterizations, and its plot develops with chilling psychological suspense. It's such a skillfully made entertainment that its plunge into the supernatural is persuasive even for the skeptical.
  76. It's a chilling, completely fascinating documentary.
  77. Alternately witty, caustic, tender and endlessly imaginative and unpredictable.
  78. As David Rakoff once wrote, "Youth isn't wasted on the young. It is perpetrated on the young." Exactly how is brilliantly captured by Andrew Bujalski in his debut feature, Funny Ha Ha.
  79. It is the kind of superbly crafted, intelligent entertainment — a classic suspense thriller — that nowadays is as welcome as it is rare.
  80. 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.
  81. A remarkable work -- lively, painful, humorous, deeply revealing of both father and son -- that is worthy of one of Hollywood's finest directors of photography.
  82. A carefully thought out and consummately well-made piece of work, a serious comic-book adaptation that is driven by story, psychology and reality, not special effects.
  83. Optimistic and humanistic to the core, Me and You and Everyone We Know is a paean to perseverance and finding ways to cope.
  84. Two teen girls forge an explosive connection in a compelling Pawel Pawlikowski film.
  85. 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.
  86. As uplifting as anything you will find in theaters.
  87. A remarkable film.
  88. A deceptively simple, deeply resonant story about the inherent loneliness of family, the odds against assimilation and the enormous distances that can divide two people.
  89. Wong brilliantly blends musical styles and eras to create an intoxicating mood.
  90. Filmmaker Sauper put himself in harm's way numerous times to get so inside the situation, and the intimacy of his technique, his willingness to avoid hectoring voice-overs and simply talk quietly with his subjects, adds compelling believability.
  91. Enormously entertaining.
  92. A fascinating, veritable self-portrait, masterfully culled from a trove of archival materials.
  93. 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.
  94. Mostow, with his first feature, has made such a convincing, fast-paced, edge-of-the-seat thriller that you'd swear you'd never seen anything quite like it.
  95. 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.
  96. A film that grips us dramatically, intellectually and emotionally.
  97. Even though there are tedious stretches with less-than-riveting characters, the film gradually pulls you into its claustrophobic spell and becomes acutely suspenseful in its final half-hour.
  98. An elegantly discursive examination of one of the great modern photographers, a surprisingly intimate portrait of an elusive, laconic man.
  99. A potent and imaginative creative biography of virtuoso percussionist Glennie.
  100. A glorious blend of kitsch, grit, humor and uplift.

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