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 0.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 All Is Lost
Lowest review score: 0 Formula 51
Score distribution:
8,040 movie reviews
  1. Lumumba is potent stuff. Complex, powerful, intensely dramatic.
  2. Prechezer's cast is ingratiating and attractive, and Blue Juice is as buoyant as its terrific rock score.
  3. Biting and vicious, a styptic pencil on the battered face of "civilized divorce." It's also thoughtful, laceratingly funny, and bravely true to its own black-and-blue comic vision. [8 Dec 1989]
    • Los Angeles Times
  4. A story that won't go away, won't leave you alone, won't let you feel at ease. Intensely dramatic, filled with elevated heroism, crass self-interest and blatant stupidity, it's a paradigmatic narrative of our tendentious, turbulent times.
  5. Halloween: H20 is as stylish and scary as it is ultra-violent. It's a work of superior craftsmanship in all aspects.
  6. With Bad Education, Almodóvar is at his most breathtakingly complex and mature, and at his most pessimistic.
  7. Identifying herself with other minorities (whose members she mimics outrageously), Cho shatters racial and sexual stereotypes with merciless wit.
  8. Hairspray is a deliriously fast and funny satire of the '60s that marks John Waters' best shot yet at mainstream audiences. [25 Feb 1988, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  9. It takes a director with exceptional talent, skill and experience to explore ambiguity in all aspects of human nature and behavior, and Oshima has created a film of resilient, downright tensile strength that ends on a satisfyingly ironic note.
  10. With a subversive streak as wide as the Han and a title open to interpretation, The Host confounds our expectations while providing top-notch entertainment. For Bong, the monster movie is an ample vessel, one that he can fill with social criticism while discovering exuberant amusement in the process.
  11. The filmmaker constructs a growing sense of dread with the calculated precision of a classic horror movie.
  12. This splendid film is no mere polemic, for Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, often called the first lady of Iranian cinema, is above all an accomplished storyteller and dramatist who understands the evocative power of sound and image.
  13. 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.
  14. A glorious blend of kitsch, grit, humor and uplift.
  15. A handsomely mounted, graceful production that is well-played across the board.
  16. It's a terrific little film worthy of discovery.
  17. One of the best sports documentaries in recent memory.
  18. 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.
  19. For so brisk and entertaining a film, sharp in its observations but light in its touch, Cooking has unexpected substance and is a formidable accomplishment in that it brings dimension to its nearly 40 principal characters.
  20. French films traditionally take France and its eternal appeal for granted. Summer Hours is the rare film that worries about that, worries about the future, and that proves to be invaluable.
  21. An elegant, poetic fable of endurance.
  22. The Piano Teacher will surely be too strong for some audiences and is best left to those who like films that take big risks and get away with them.
  23. 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.
  24. A marvel of a documentary, a clear-eyed and affectionate film that tells a remarkable story with both visual and personal sensitivity. More impressive still, it's largely the work of one man.
  25. A potent and imaginative creative biography of virtuoso percussionist Glennie.
  26. A surprisingly satisfying combination of bawdy sexual humor, genuine emotion and a plot with mechanics so excessive that Almodóvar himself calls it "a screwball drama."
  27. It is Mulligan and most especially Fassbender that give the film its power. The desperation, hostility and despair he conveys through the act of sex make Shame a film that is difficult to watch but even harder to turn away from.
  28. This clever bag of tricks is made with so much cinematic skill it makes implausibility irrelevant. What happens on screen is unapologetically far-fetched, but it unfolds with enough panache to make turning away out of the question.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    While it's possible to view this movie like a short-story collection, putting check marks beside the selections one likes best, to do so would deny the pleasure of experiencing this beautifully crafted, intricately designed story the way it was intended, as an organic whole. [11 June 1999, Calendar, p.F-8]
    • Los Angeles Times
  29. Not just an especially subtle and thoughtful psychological drama, it's a provocative, even an unnerving one as well.
  30. Cronos surprises with its sophisticated and spirited look at a tale straight from the crypt. [22 Apr 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  31. The wonderful thing about Band of Outsiders is that the daring elements that jazzed audiences then have the same power to intoxicate all these years later.
  32. Malena the film is as beautiful and seductive as its heroine, with its ravishing Lajos Koltai cinematography and sweepingly romantic Ennio Morricone score.
  33. A delightful, effervescent morality tale for children conveyed with such wit and sophistication that adults are likely to be enchanted as well.
  34. Interstellar turns out to be the rarest beast in the Hollywood jungle. It's a mass audience picture that's intelligent as well as epic, with a sophisticated script that's as interested in emotional moments as immersive visuals. Which is saying a lot.
  35. Disturbing, unnerving and wire-to-wire involving, Deep Water is the story of a dream that got so wildly out of hand that it ensnared the dreamer in an intricate trap of his own devising.
  36. This is quiet but potent filmmaking that believes nothing is more important than the story it has to tell.
  37. A smart, lively and unpretentious exploitation picture...Consistently funny and clever.
  38. Branagh has mastered the tricky high-wire act of simultaneously kidding the conventions he is being absolutely faithful to, allowing us to squeal with both fright and knowing laughter. His is a film lover's film [23 Aug 1991, Calendar, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  39. Provocative and engrossing.
  40. 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.
  41. A triumph of quiet realism, a piece of sophisticated, subtle filmmaking that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.
  42. 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.
  43. Most of all, Davies proves himself to be a poet of the commonplace whose art is the exalting of the everyday. He may rail against "the British genius for creating the dismal," but his own work is anything but.
  44. About a billion laughs (though "Hot Tub" is not for the faint of heart or anyone even slightly concerned with what's happened to common decency these days).
  45. I found it to be some kind of wonderful, flaws and all. This is one to be taken in like meditation. Clear the mind and let what is in front of you wash over you. Save the contemplation for later.
  46. A compelling entertainment because of Hill and co-writer David Giler's adroit cinematic storytelling skills and the powerful presence of Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames, whose talent and intelligence are as impressive as their physiques.
  47. American Sniper is at its best when it deals with the assembly-line-of-death relentlessness of combat for Kyle, how it simultaneously consumes him and wears him down, and how, to his wife's distress, it turns the civilian life he returns to between tours of duty into the aberration, not the norm.
  48. Headhunters is a dark adult entertainment, a wild and bloody adrenaline rush of a movie that deals in gleeful grotesqueness and over-the-top implausibilities.
  49. For an American film it is a groundbreaker in exploring the realm of sexual fluidity, and it does so with wit, wisdom and in a completely entertaining fashion.
  50. King Kong is an homage not just to the original but to the history of movies themselves.
  51. The brilliance of A Scanner Darkly is how it suggests, without bombast or fanfare, the ways in which the real world has come to resemble the dark world of comic books.
  52. 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."
  53. Guillermo del Toro is more than a filmmaker, he's a fantasy visionary with an outsized imagination and a fanatical specificity, a creator of out-of-this world universes carefully conceived down to the smallest detail. His particular gifts and passions are on display in the long-awaited Pacific Rim and the results are spectacular.
  54. A sweeping romantic fable about love and mortality, targets an audience of girls in their early teens, but has been made with such skill and sensitivity that its appeal spans generations.
  55. The thinking person's caper flick, with its endlessly clever plotting revealing character under the utmost pressure.
  56. Tells a tale that is stranger than fiction several times over. Viewers of this remarkable documentary will be astonished at not only what this art looks like and why it's forbidden, but also where it is and how it got there.
  57. Most fun of all, however, is basking in Chappelle's ability to be effortlessly funny. Whether he's making believe he's a pimp in a Dayton clothing store or charming little kids in the Bed-Stuy day-care center that was concert headquarters, his personality infuses the film with infectious good feelings.
  58. Truly, there can be nothing as complex as the simplest human relationships, and nothing as satisfying as a film that understands that as this one does.
  59. Na captures at once the fragility of the human body and the deep-rooted darkness of the human soul. The Yellow Sea is easily one of the films of the year for underserved action-heads.
  60. 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.
  61. The Lords of Salem is like some queasy-making machine, a chamber piece of possession and madness that exerts a strange, disturbing power.
  62. As its name promises, The Great Beauty is drop-dead gorgeous, a film that is luxuriously, seductively, stunningly cinematic. But more than intoxicating imagery is on director Paolo Sorrentino's mind, a lot more.
  63. After watching Charles Ferguson's powerhouse documentary about the global economic crisis, you will more than understand what went down - you will be thunderstruck and boiling with rage.
  64. Both a step back and a step forward from the trends of modern animation, it feels like a classic even though it's just out of the box.
  65. The most frankly sensual movie in memory. Winner of five Cesars, the French Oscar, including best picture and best actress for its luminous star, Marina Hands, it has found the soul of the celebrated D.H. Lawrence novel.
  66. This is writer-director Richard Linklater at his wry, whimsical best, and considering he was the filmmaker behind 1993's "Dazed and Confused," that makes the movie something of a milestone.
  67. From the first overheated moments of Bridesmaids...it's clear we're in for that rarest of treats: an R-rated romantic comedy from the Venus point of view.
  68. Most of all, Wallace & Gromit retains the clever, one-of-a-kind sensibility that made its shorter predecessors so delightful. With every studio comedy looking for a formula for success, it's refreshing to find a heroically whimsical film that succeeds by following no formula known to dog or man.
  69. The Wind That Shakes the Barley turns out to be a more complicated, more dramatically potent story than it appears at first. It's concerned at its core not with how bad the British were but with what the cost of dealing with them was for the Irish.
  70. The Stoning of Soraya M. goes well beyond its angry didacticism and its specific indictment of men's oppression of women to achieve the impact of a Greek tragedy through its masterful grasp of suspense and group psychology, and some superb acting.
  71. With its startling mix of 16-millimeter-shot, handmade animation styles using stop-motion, sketches, collages and models, along with uncensored characters often resembling cadaverous marionettes, this twisted look at life in a faded Appalachian town is one decidedly idiosyncratic ride.
  72. Zeroing in on the art of rehearsal, Becoming Traviata is an exquisitely observed look at performance and the creative process.
  73. 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.
  74. Add one more extraordinary survival tale to the canon of Holocaust documentaries: No Place on Earth.
  75. Here the writer-director's tendency toward the allegorical casts a magical spell with Anderson finding a near perfect balance between the humanism and the surreal that imprints all of his work.
  76. There's not a second in the film that isn't a reminder that New Orleans in its architecture, cuisine and multicultural diversity as well as in its music is a unique and major American center of culture. Murphy has made a film more valuable than he surely ever could have imagined.
  77. Working Girl is the sparkling success that it is because of the sheer irresistibility of Melanie Griffith. [21 Dec 1988, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  78. Intimate in the telling, sweeping in the implications, Loznitsa has created an unusually incisive film.
  79. The look and feel of the film is entirely beguiling. It is deliberately not a period piece, heavy with dated styles and fads, but instead evokes a sense of timelessness.
  80. 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.
  81. The Attack rewards your patience. Though it's never less than involving, it grows in stature as it unfolds and ends as a more subtle and disturbing film about love, loss and tragedy than we might initially expect.
  82. By far the most approachable of the director's recent films, with an emotional depth that's true to life and a streamlined narrative that for long stretches barely contains a word.
  83. It's one of the most emotional and compelling the filmmaker has ever made. Confident, uncompromising and blisteringly realistic, Sweet Sixteen is a gritty and immediate film yet it goes right to the emotions.
  84. 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.
  85. An exceptional film, at once disturbing and elevating, deliberate yet powerful.
  86. Taut, atmospheric, impeccably made psychological thriller.
  87. One of the places where In a Better World is especially successful is comparing and contrasting the moral worlds of children and adults, showing how difficult but essential it is for each group to learn from the other.
  88. First-time feature director Ruben Fleischer brings impeccable timing and bloodthirsty wit to the proceedings. Cinematographer Michael Bonvillain captures some interesting images amid the post-apocalyptic carnival of carnage, as when he transforms the destruction of a souvenir shop into a rough ballet.
  89. It's the best kind of unforced filmmaking, able to make its points with delicacy and tact. And the best thing about it is that it is Bottaro's feature directing debut. We have a lot to look forward to.
  90. Munich's even-handed cry for peace is not an act of equivocation but one of bravery. What Munich has to say, and its ability to say it to the widest possible audience, couldn't be more needed than it is right now.
  91. Restrained yet powerful, devastating in its emotional effects.
  92. Raucously funny and surprisingly insightful.
  93. This fresh and flawless adaptation of an autobiographical story by Davy Rothbart is a joy to behold. Its people are in their 20s, but what they experience is ageless, timeless and universal.
  94. It is a caustic, comic, cerebral romp for a long time before it hits you with its best shot — some Polanski-worthy darkness.
  95. Graced with performers who bring a purity of emotion to their work, the film is always dramatically convincing. There is a fundamental air of truth about it, a sense that, horrific though things seem, this is how it must have been.
  96. Bold, acutely observant and universal in its wide-ranging concerns and implications.
  97. A moment had come that had to be seized, which in turn gave birth to the gay rights movement. On June 28, 1970, New York held its first gay parade, and as one of its participants remarks, "Stonewall lives on" in all the gay parades ever since.
  98. Jackie Chan's best American picture to date, breathes fresh life into the virtually dormant comedy-western.
  99. Enormously entertaining.

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