Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,325 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 0.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Drag Me to Hell
Lowest review score: 0 Being Human
Score distribution:
8,325 movie reviews
  1. Intimate in the telling, sweeping in the implications, Loznitsa has created an unusually incisive film.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Director Brett Haley, who co-wrote the film with Marc Basch, has managed to create a film about those final years that gets to the heart of things like loss and love without patronizing or parody. No small thing to create a movie whose cast is mostly in their 70s yet whose story is so relatable whatever your age.
  5. Gorgeous, evocative and well performed.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. An exceptional film, at once disturbing and elevating, deliberate yet powerful.
  11. Taut, atmospheric, impeccably made psychological thriller.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Restrained yet powerful, devastating in its emotional effects.
  17. Raucously funny and surprisingly insightful.
  18. 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.
  19. It is a caustic, comic, cerebral romp for a long time before it hits you with its best shot — some Polanski-worthy darkness.
  20. 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.
  21. Bold, acutely observant and universal in its wide-ranging concerns and implications.
  22. 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.
  23. Jackie Chan's best American picture to date, breathes fresh life into the virtually dormant comedy-western.
  24. Enormously entertaining.
  25. The result is involving, engrossing cinema -- more thrilling, in fact, than Howard's "The Da Vinci Code" -- filmmaking of a type rarely seen anymore and sorely missed.
  26. A martial arts action-adventure with wondrous special effects and witty production design, it effectively combines supernatural terror, a mythical slay-the-dragon, save-the-princess odyssey and even a spiritual quest for self-knowledge. [21 Aug 1995 Pg. F3]
    • Los Angeles Times
  27. A roguish and delightful comedy of duplicity that's as entertaining as it is sly.
  28. Simultaneously exhilarating and confounding, dazzling and confusing, this is filmmaking of such verve and style that you likely won't care that you can't follow it completely.
  29. It is such a grand, romantic entertainment that it sweeps the viewer along in its swiftly escalating suspense.
  30. Acutely observed, faultlessly acted, graced with piercing emotion and unsparing honesty, it will make you laugh because you can't bear to cry.
  31. Sometimes it's those with the hardest struggles in life who remember to appreciate life more than anyone else. This message comes through loud and clear in Cary Bell's documentary, Butterfly Girl.
  32. Demands the utmost concentration, for to look away from the screen for even a brief moment is to risk losing a plot line or a crucial bit of information, but its cumulative, transporting impact makes it worth the effort. Above all, it has an overwhelming sense of reality atypical of the American cinema.
  33. Filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, whose profiles in courage are sympathetic but not adulatory, have crafted an absorbing, thoughtful report.
  34. This one-of-a-kind film cycle has become as comfortable and reliable as an old shoe, providing a degree of dependability that's becoming increasingly rare.
  35. 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.
  36. Above all else expresses the timeless impact of Lily Bart's plight.
  37. His film may be something of a beautiful lie, but what's true about Sollett's characters is that their dreams, their grace and their struggles are as real as it gets.
  38. The exquisitely calibrated Breathe In explores such a fraught mutual passion with honesty, intimacy and complete emotional involvement.
  39. Disco's exceptional acting ensemble is especially successful at capturing the brittle rituals of this specific group of genteel, well-spoken young people on the cusp of adulthood.
  40. In a sea of one-note symphonies, this touching feature is bleak and comic, heartbreaking and affirmative, romantic and tragic, gimlet-eyed and sympathetic, all at the same time.
  41. Though it can overreach for emotional effect and overplay its hand at times -- Sexy Beast brings considerable virtues to telling this tale, including a great eye for faces and director Glazer's palpable excitement at working in the feature medium.
  42. [An] impressive and deeply felt documentary.
  43. The Lego Movie is strikingly, exhilaratingly, exhaustingly fresh.
  44. 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.
  45. There is action galore, but Future Past is a deeper, richer, more thoughtful film, more existential in its contemplations than earlier Xs, all rather nicely embedded in the mayhem churned up by the mutants' altered states.
  46. Wonderfully humanistic film. Yi Yi investigates the entire melody of life.
  47. Watching Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is like experiencing a thrilling unfinished symphony: The story is enthralling, but it's not over, and there's no telling where it's going. Which makes what we see on screen all the more involving.
  48. With her new film, the poignant and funny Please Give, Holofcener is at the top of her game.
  49. The rom-com isn't such a lost cause, after all. It was just waiting for someone like indie filmmaker Andrew Bujalski to resuscitate it.
  50. Chen's masterful, deeply perceptive direction of his superb cast is equaled by the film's luminous cinematography, rich yet spare and stylized production and costume design, and rousing score.
  51. Guitarist-composer Bill Frisell's wall-to-wall, bluesy-jazzy soundtrack beautifully reflects and unifies the visuals while also helping to personalize this distinct endeavor. It's a terrific achievement.
  52. Punchy dialogue, sharply drawn characters and excellent performances fuel Glass Chin.
  53. The tragedy here is not a single story but that a process so inequitable and so inane continues in a place that is considered to be enlightened. Gett, in moving and infuriating ways, exposes a very bleak corner of that world.
  54. There is something magical about The Illusionist's world, and that's as it should be.
  55. Beyond her tenacious and intimate reporting, director and cinematographer Polak has made a work of powerful images — heart-rending, elegiac, charged with hope.
  56. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn never lets up, continually introducing new characters and adding new thrills and chills right up to the last frame… A terrific trip, although admittedly not one that everybody would enjoy taking. [13 Mar 1987, Calendar, p.6-14]
    • Los Angeles Times
  57. A transfixing, emotionally complex Israeli drama.
  58. That rare episode film that actually accrues a cumulative power and doesn't merely proceed from one segment to the next.
  59. Simultaneously uplifting and melancholy, suffused with an unexpected sense of possibility as much as the inevitable sense of loss.
  60. 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.
  61. Offers a riveting depiction of the classic collision of fate and character, with geography in this instance playing a crucial role.
  62. For all its nonstop energy and high spirits, Can't Hardly Wait allows its characters to emerge as fully dimensional individuals; they've been written with care and perception and played with equal aplomb by a roster of talented young actors.
  63. This calm and thorough film has just the right attitude and tone to deal with a most incendiary story.
  64. A lot of this horrific Little Shop is not only sweet, melodic, funny and oddly idealistic, it's even, well, tasty. [19 Dec 1986, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  65. When it's done right, as it is in Young Adult, there is something absolutely mesmerizing about watching a train wreck unfold on screen. When the wreck in question is a narcissistic beauty played to scheming, sour, downward-spiraling perfection by Charlize Theron, cringing is definitely called for, but so is laughter.
  66. The Farewell Party succeeds as well as it does because the core dilemma always feels real and the filmmakers take great care to see that the inevitable emotions put into play are never overdone.
  67. Blessed with clever plot devices and a villainous horde that makes the once-dread Klingons seem like a race of Barneys, First Contact does everything you'd want a "Star Trek" film to do, and it does it with cheerfulness and style.
  68. Finds Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien at his most intimate and romantic. The deceptive simplicity of these vignettes, written by Chu Tien-wen, throws into relief Hou's formidable storytelling strengths and visual acuity - his way with actors, his subtlety and expressiveness.
  69. The Vogels' story is a very specific one, at once more unexpected and more moving than it might seem at first.
  70. One terrific concert film.
  71. Live Flesh is an effortlessly articulated tragicomedy by Pedro Almodovar, a world-renowned filmmaker at the height of his powers. [30 Jan 1998]
    • Los Angeles Times
  72. Smart and beguiling, it manages the impressive feat of believing wholeheartedly in the power of love without checking its mind at the door.
  73. The films have only gotten better by letting the relationship marinate. "Midnight's" more disgruntled edge reflects what creeps up on couples as years pass, regrets stack up, kids factor in, real life intervenes.
  74. With outstanding performances, including a turn by Judi Dench as the evil Lady Catherine de Bourg, Pride & Prejudice is a joy from start to finish.
  75. Besides Montand's splendid performance, The Wide Blue Road's other treat is seeing a film that's both old-fashioned enough to believe that social concerns can lead to satisfying drama and well-made enough to deliver on that belief. A film infused with that kind of passion never goes out of style.
  76. With clinical dispassion and narrative elegance, Breillat has constructed what she calls "a thriller about denial."
  77. Whether you're familiar with Pina Bausch's work or not, the new film Pina is a knockout.
  78. You could say a lot about the very satisfying The Man Who Wasn't There, but what's for sure is that no one but the deadpan, dead-on Coen brothers could have turned it out.
  79. Ferran's eccentricity is an acquired taste, but the light, emotional artfulness of Bird People — a cry for the senses in a world that so often dulls — is welcome.
  80. A quintessentially wised-up insider comedy, ideally cast and filled with sharp writing from start to finish.
  81. As pure of heart as its heroine, Cinderella floats across the screen like a gossamer confection, full of elegant beauty and quiet grace.
  82. There's such a rich sense of the fullness of life in Moolaadé that it sustains those passages that are truly and necessarily harrowing.
  83. Make no mistake, "We Steal Secrets" is a sprawling, ambitious, major work — a gripping exploration of power, personality, technology and the crushing weight that can come to bear on those who find themselves in its combined path.
  84. Arlington Road belongs to that splendid Hollywood tradition of dealing with serious, timely issues in the form of a suspense thriller.
  85. An exquisite, intimate film of restraint and delicacy.
  86. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  87. Artfully and cleverly, the sweet spirit of that young bear from darkest Peru and his many London misadventures materializes brilliantly on screen in the very good hands of writer-director-conjurer Paul King.
  88. An intense, shattering film, a confident and accomplished, punch-in-the-gut debut by Belgian writer-director Michael R. Roskam that starts out like a thriller and turns into a disturbing tragedy in an unlikely and unexpected key.
  89. 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.
  90. Shine a Light may not be the last Rolling Stones movie, but it's likely to be the last one with a touch of the poet about it.
  91. 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.
  92. While major stars thrust together on screen often end up undercutting each other, one of the pleasures of Becket is how easily and generously these two commanding actors play off each other, each allowing the other the space to make the most of their individual roles.
  93. The Spierig brothers have deftly fashioned an unpredictable thrill ride, and the joy is to fit together all its puzzle pieces.
  94. The French, no one needs to be told, take food and food preparation with extreme seriousness. "There are no 'all-you-can eat' places in France," one chef sniffs in this excellent Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker documentary. "The idea is to eat small amounts of the best food."
  95. The result is a kind of ultimate romantic film, joining an almost Jamesian sadness and discipline to that extraordinary visual sensibility. It's not the kind of thing you see every day.
  96. In the end, 127 Hours is one man's incredible, unforgettable journey; it took the extraordinary alchemy of Boyle and Franco to also make it ours.
  97. While the cast is uniformly superb, Garfield ("Lions for Lambs") deserves special mention for his deep, extraordinarily expressive performance.
  98. Rarely does pop come with such sizzle.
  99. Time is truly on Apted's side because the passing of time not surprisingly brings a richer, deeper perspective with each new segment.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Despite being rooted in knotty issues of identity, Lahiri's novel forgoes didacticism in favor of vivid portraiture. Nair and her uniformly superb cast take the same tack: The characters are individuals before they are emblems.

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