Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,180 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 0.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 La Dolce Vita (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 Hudson Hawk
Score distribution:
7,180 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. A first-rate contribution to the Holocaust canon.
  3. There's a muscular sincerity to this movie, a power and spread to its imagery that triumphs over the occasional candied purple patches or strained plot twists. [16 Jul 1993 Pg. F1]
  4. 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]
  5. De Bont and his team have turned in a visually sophisticated piece of mayhem that makes the implausible plausible and keeps the thrills coming. [10Jun1994 Pg. F1]
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. It would be a mistake to think that if you've seen one fish up close and personal you've seen them all. Deep Sea 3D is a total-immersion undersea adventure, in which the oceans' glories are on vivid display in three dimensions.
  9. The most memorable section of the film is the chilling quarter-hour devoted to the apprehension and eventual murder of the Clutter family. Captured in unblinking, neo-documentary detail, it freezes the blood just as they did all those decades ago.
  10. Mike Armstrong's relentlessly downbeat script allows Demme to develop an ensnaring camaraderie coupled with a dark destructiveness that recalls Eugene O'Neill.
  11. 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.
  12. An exhilarating rush of a movie, with all manner of go-for-broke visual bravura that expresses perfectly the free spirits of his bold young people. [22 May 1998, Pg.F9]
  13. 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]
  14. 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.
  15. What's surprising about this supremely engaging film is the source of its curb appeal: It has heart.
  16. Emmanuel Carrère's witty, elegant La Moustache is a deliciously unsettling, beautifully sustained enigma, a film of much beauty and flawless performances, especially from Vincent Lindon in one of his most demanding roles.
  17. 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.
  18. There's a rawness and immediacy to his (Bujalski's) work that cuts straight to the experience, a starkness that's startling in an age of bloated spectacle.
  19. A quiet powerhouse of a film, an implacable, uncompromising French police drama, both old-fashioned and modern, that underlines the reasons impeccably made crime stories do so well on screen.
  20. Miniaturist in its level of detail and evocatively abstract, Old Joy captures the weary mood of a generation that's crested its peak along with an era, quietly making a case for how well suited film can be to capturing the finer points of human interaction while preserving their mystery.
  21. Sophisticated in its ease and spontaneity, it was directed with clarity and rigor by Auraeus Solito from Michiiko Yamamoto's acutely perceptive script.
  22. In a commanding performance that is as compelling as it is unexpected, Mirren has turned The Queen into something you never imagined it could be: a crackling dramatic story that's intelligent, thoughtful and moving.
  23. 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.
  24. This calm and thorough film has just the right attitude and tone to deal with a most incendiary story.
  25. Sublime psychological thriller.
  26. It convincingly demonstrates that when done right, moral and political quandaries can be the most intensely dramatic dilemmas of all.
  27. Dreamgirls is the entire musical package, a triumph of old school on-screen glamour, and we wouldn't want it any other way.
  28. As directed by Rachid Bouchareb, himself born in France to Algerian immigrants, "Days of Glory" is a kind of a North African "Saving Private Ryan," a taut, involving film that delivers all the things we look for in war movies and does so with intelligence and integrity.
  29. A period spectacle, steeped in awesome splendor and lethal palace intrigue, it climaxes in a stupendous battle scene and epic tragedy.
  30. With Pan's Labyrinth, Del Toro has made his most accomplished film to date, a dark and disturbing fairy tale for adults that's been thought out to the nth degree and resonates with the irresistible inevitability of a timeless myth.
  31. 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.
  32. Filled with tension, deception and bravura acting, Breach is a crackling tale of real-life espionage that doubles as a compelling psychological drama.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A wonderfully heart-wrenching love story for tweens, teens, and even adults who fondly remember when a friendship could be ignited by a gesture as simple as offering a stick of Juicy Fruit.
  33. Tense and gut-wrenching, Beyond the Gates is a horrifying story told with grace and compassion.
  34. 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.
    • 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.
  35. 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.
  36. An example of sophisticated, impassioned filmmaking involving mainly people who lived through the harrowing experiences so unsparingly depicted, Journey From the Fall powerfully illustrates the refugee/immigrant experience.
  37. Cuaron perfectly understands how a combination of simplicity and restraint help to create a sense of wonder on screen. Under his sure, quiet direction, A Little Princess casts the type of spell most family films can only dream about. [10 May 1995, p.1]
  38. One of the strengths of Killer of Sheep, one of the reasons it has not dated, is that the naturalness and simplicity with which it unfolds give it the texture of a story told from the inside.
  39. Beautifully wrought and wonderfully acted, The Flower of My Secret is in fact the kind of film that George Cukor often made - and he surely would have been delighted at Almodovar's deft blend of humor, tenderness and wisdom. [13 Mar 1996]
  40. Michael Winterbottom's handsome, uncompromising film. Jude glows with Eccleston's and Winslet's performances and with those in supporting roles.
  41. Though Unstrung Heroes' thematic elements are uniformly strong, it is the film's treatment of Danny and Arthur that is especially impressive. [15 Sep 1995]
  42. Cronos surprises with its sophisticated and spirited look at a tale straight from the crypt. [22 Apr 1994]
  43. Demme finds haunting overtones in the somewhat old-hat situations of E. Max Frye's first screenplay. Something Wild also has three first-class performances: by Daniels, who seems to have resources that his earlier roles never touched; by electrifying newcomer Ray Liotta, and by Griffith as the maddening, mysterious Lulu. [6 Nov 1986]
  44. Live Flesh is an effortlessly articulated tragicomedy by Pedro Almodovar, a world-renowned filmmaker at the height of his powers. [30 Jan 1998]
  45. The result is a take-no-prisoners movie from one of Hong Kong's most idiosyncratic, shoot-from-the-hip filmmakers that's the very antithesis of sentimental gay love stories. [31 Oct 1997]
  46. Wright and Pegg are storytellers who weave their naughty bits into genuine characters and a plot. It's a ridiculous plot, but one that's absolutely in the spirit of the films they're satirizing.
  47. A complete master of cinematic farce, Veber's latest venture, The Valet, makes creating deliciously funny comedy look a lot easier than it has any right to.
  48. Brougher has taken material that sounds contrived and potentially exploitative and used her gift for careful observation and restrained emotionality to give it surprising authenticity.
  49. The smiles don't fade until the finish of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown when we witness Pepa's realization that she has, in fact, come into her own and taken charge of her own destiny. [20 Dec 1988, p.1]
  50. Poignant, wise and unafraid -- just the sort of film for a young person, or any person, for that matter, to make.
  51. Drugstore Cowboy, an electrifying movie without one misstep or one conventional moment. [11 Oct 1989]
  52. The result is a career milestone [for Hal Hartley] and a film that could become a landmark in American independent cinema.
  53. It would seem impossible that anyone looking into the heart and the clear intent of the film would fail to see Scorsese's passion for his subject. And if our world is becoming so dangerously constricted that we're forbidden even to look, that is something we should all worry about. [12 Aug 1988, p.1]
  54. Kon's best work yet.
  55. Ron Howard reaches real maturity here, as he pulls together the script's tendency to skitter between sociology and sitcom, making it into one perceptive, delicious whole. [2 Aug 1989, p.1]
  56. Armstrong, screenplay adapter/co-producer Robin Swicord and their colleagues have got everything just right. [23 Dec 1994]
  57. Broadcast News is so diabolically clever that you rather expect it to be heartless, in the way that so much surface cleverness can be. No such thing. Heartless is the wrong word for this movie: It's insightful and understanding and marvelous fun, while giving up none of its thoughtfulness. [16 Dec 1987, p.1]
  58. Prechezer's cast is ingratiating and attractive, and Blue Juice is as buoyant as its terrific rock score.
  59. 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]
  60. 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]
  61. Moving and frighteningly real.
  62. 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.
  63. Sicko is likely Moore's most important, most impressive, most provocative film, and it's different from his others in significant ways.
  64. Aside from a riveting adventure story that Herzog tells in all of its terrifying, stripped-down simplicity, Rescue Dawn is a fascinating study of human particularity.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The result, narrated in a grave monotone by Campbell Scott, is a catalog of horrors so absurd and relentless it verges on farce, or Greek tragedy.
  65. 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.
  66. What Live-in Maid offers is a pitch-perfect observation of life on a continent where forms are adhered to, distances aren't really kept, and your best friend is the person who knows to pour the cheap domestic whiskey into the empty bottle of imported stuff before your bridge buddies show up to judge you.
  67. It says something about Paul Greengrass' directing style that he's able to make a movie as fresh and frank as The Bourne Ultimatum from a genre as moldy and bombastic as the spy thriller.
  68. Floating in on an airy breeze of dreams and true love, the lively adventure-romance Stardust offers that elusive quality summer movies are supposed to possess but rarely do -- total escape.
  69. 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.
  70. James Mangold directs it with such energy and passion that it's as if he didn't know it's all been done before.
  71. The riveting documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, is an unexpected knockout.
  72. It's billed as an environmental horror story, but The Last Winter bears all the hallmarks of an ever-popular genre that has always pitted science, technology and reason against emotion, awe and nature. It bears all the hallmarks of the gothic: ghosts, death, alienated sexuality, decay, secrets, madness and, of course, awe and trepidation in the face of the sublime power of nature.
  73. For director Lou Ye, who also co-wrote the script and was a student in Beijing during that crucial year, Summer Palace is the story of his particular lost generation, a story he felt so deeply about he risked his career to tell it. Search out this vivid film in a theater. Don't let the sacrifices he made be in vain.
  74. This is no nostalgia trip taken by an 83-year-old director. It's a fierce, hot slap of a movie, a shameless melodrama with bite.
  75. The creators of this film were fiercely determined not to go so much as a millimeter over the line into sentiment, tawdriness or mockery. It's the rare film that is the best possible version of itself, but "Lars" fits that bill.
  76. Finely made and richly satisfying film.
  77. Simultaneously uplifting and melancholy, suffused with an unexpected sense of possibility as much as the inevitable sense of loss.
  78. It's important to remember that Sinclair was as much a committed socialist as a novelist, someone who probably wrote for political purpose more than for dramatic effect. So while Day-Lewis' gorgeous acting largely disguises it, the people in "Blood" tend to be schematic and the film as a whole has a weakness for the didactic.
  79. An understated gem. Writer-director Jeff Nichols, making his feature debut, has created a richly textured world.
  80. The camera is so unobtrusive and the acting so naturalistic that it takes a while for a narrative to emerge. When it finally does, you're surprised to find you're deeply invested in the characters.
  81. 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.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Subtly acted, with Aridjis showing remarkable trust in her performers, The Favor is that rare film that at every turn exhibits good taste and a sense of restraint.
  82. Norwegian director Joachim Trier's inspiring first feature Reprise joyfully tackles the process of self-creation, as well as the friendships that feed and sustain it. He captures, in a way that's cool and romantic and heady, the moment in life when nothing matters more than ideas, influences and the possibility of shaping one's life into a work of art.
  83. A story about generational expectations and cultural shifts, The Edge of Heaven raises questions it can't answer, which makes it only more powerful.
  84. Raucously funny and surprisingly insightful.
  85. This haunting phantasmagoria of a film -- comic, singular, surreal -- is not only something no one but the Canadian director could have made, it's also a film no one else would have even wanted to make. Which is the heart of its appeal.
  86. The Catherine Breillat-directed period piece is an extreme cinematic pleasure, a well-told yarn of merciless desire.
  87. Author Coben, who says he is a fan of "stories that move you, that grab hold of your heart and do not let it go," has gotten a film that does exactly that.
  88. While the cast is uniformly superb, Garfield ("Lions for Lambs") deserves special mention for his deep, extraordinarily expressive performance.
  89. An invaluable portrait of us-and-them America, a smart, generous, poignant, quietly disturbing movie about secrecy and hospitality, and how easy it is for a tradition of separateness to flourish when the stakes are as deceptively frivolous as an eye-popping yearly party.
  90. 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.
  91. Mastery of tone is everything here, and Azazel's control, combined with his wit, perception, discretion and easy command of the visual and of his cast makes Momma's Man a gem.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. Best and most unexpected of all, Rachel Getting Married dares to mix the bitter with the sweet. It understands that life-altering situations like weddings not only bring out the worst in human behavior but also the finest.
  95. An exceptional film, at once disturbing and elevating, deliberate yet powerful.
  96. Performances this strong and direction this sensitive make us simply grateful to have an emotional story we can sink our teeth into and enjoy.

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