Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,757 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 0.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Exit Through the Gift Shop
Lowest review score: 0 Awakened
Score distribution:
7,757 movie reviews
  1. Flawless contributions by Armstrong's crew make Oscar and Lucinda a vibrant period piece, buoyant yet incisive, and easily sustaining interest, if not generating deep involvement, throughout a just-under two-hour running time. [31Dec1997 Pg.8]
    • Los Angeles Times
  2. A ticking time bomb of a movie, a gripping, incendiary, casually subversive piece of work that marries pulp watchability with larger concerns without skipping a beat.
  3. Has an intimate, personal quality. Rather than showboating for the camera, the soldiers get to a deeper level, conveying a surprisingly reflective and aware sensibility.
  4. Miller and Futterman avoid the pitfalls of the genre by refusing to mythologize the artist, plunging instead into the soul of the man.
  5. Acutely observed, faultlessly acted, graced with piercing emotion and unsparing honesty, it will make you laugh because you can't bear to cry.
  6. Humor, sentiment and melodrama strike a balance as he brings to life nine major characters and a host of others as well.
  7. Couldn't be more unlikely, more unfashionable -- or more compelling.
  8. 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.
  9. Crisp as the creases in its naval officers' uniforms, this tale of seething conflicts aboard an American submarine on the eve of nuclear war is strictly by-the-numbers, but hardly ever are traditional elements executed with such panache.
  10. That rare episode film that actually accrues a cumulative power and doesn't merely proceed from one segment to the next.
  11. 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.
  12. With his ability to understand and convey these absurdist scenarios in both adult and preteen terms, writer-director Solondz catches the unlooked-for humor in poignant, hurtful situations.
  13. A captivating film that truly elevates the spirit, Ballets Russes is the most emotionally satisfying documentary since "Mad Hot Ballroom."
  14. Director Nora Ephron and her co-writers, sister Delia plus Pete Dexter and Jim Quinlan (the latter two wrote the original story), bring a smart contemporary sensibility to the hokum, hilarity and heart-tugging that have made for many a classic Hollywood entertainment.
  15. In his feature debut, writer-director John Mangold brings remarkably sensitive powers of observation to bear upon ordinary people living ordinary lives.
  16. Its characters are as entertainingly quirky as any he's given us before, and his familiar themes -- strangers in a strange land, lives reformed by chance encounters -- are played out with much higher stakes and with greater purpose.
  17. 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.
  18. It's not until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that a film has successfully re-created the sense of stirring magical adventure and engaged, edge-of-your-seat excitement that has made the books such an international phenomenon.
  19. To come across Classe Tous Risques is like discovering a bottle of marvelous French wine you didn't remember you had, opening it and finding it every bit as delicious as its reputation promised. That's how good this classic fatalistic French gangster film is.
  20. A fearless and ambitious piece of work, made with equal parts passion and calculation, an unapologetically entertaining major studio release with compelling real-world relevance, a film that takes numerous risks and thrives on them all.
  21. Down to the Bone emerges with an aura of authenticity so strong as to be mesmerizing, thanks to a superior script brought to life with infallibly natural performances.
  22. What's best about it is that it seems real by the logic of childhood - it looks as things SHOULD look, if kids had it their way.
  23. King Kong is an homage not just to the original but to the history of movies themselves.
  24. 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.
  25. A psychological suspense drama of the utmost rigor and originality.
  26. 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.
  27. A first-rate contribution to the Holocaust canon.
  28. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  29. 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
  30. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. Mike Armstrong's relentlessly downbeat script allows Demme to develop an ensnaring camaraderie coupled with a dark destructiveness that recalls Eugene O'Neill.
  36. 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.
  37. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  38. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  39. 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.
  40. What's surprising about this supremely engaging film is the source of its curb appeal: It has heart.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. Sophisticated in its ease and spontaneity, it was directed with clarity and rigor by Auraeus Solito from Michiiko Yamamoto's acutely perceptive script.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. This calm and thorough film has just the right attitude and tone to deal with a most incendiary story.
  50. Sublime psychological thriller.
  51. It convincingly demonstrates that when done right, moral and political quandaries can be the most intensely dramatic dilemmas of all.
  52. Dreamgirls is the entire musical package, a triumph of old school on-screen glamour, and we wouldn't want it any other way.
  53. 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.
  54. A period spectacle, steeped in awesome splendor and lethal palace intrigue, it climaxes in a stupendous battle scene and epic tragedy.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. Tense and gut-wrenching, Beyond the Gates is a horrifying story told with grace and compassion.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  63. 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.
  64. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  65. Michael Winterbottom's handsome, uncompromising film. Jude glows with Eccleston's and Winslet's performances and with those in supporting roles.
  66. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  67. Cronos surprises with its sophisticated and spirited look at a tale straight from the crypt. [22 Apr 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  68. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  69. 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
  70. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  71. 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.
  72. 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.
  73. 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.
  74. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  75. Poignant, wise and unafraid -- just the sort of film for a young person, or any person, for that matter, to make.
  76. Drugstore Cowboy, an electrifying movie without one misstep or one conventional moment. [11 Oct 1989]
    • Los Angeles Times
  77. The result is a career milestone [for Hal Hartley] and a film that could become a landmark in American independent cinema.
  78. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  79. Kon's best work yet.
  80. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  81. Armstrong, screenplay adapter/co-producer Robin Swicord and their colleagues have got everything just right. [23 Dec 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  82. 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]
    • Los Angeles Times
  83. Prechezer's cast is ingratiating and attractive, and Blue Juice is as buoyant as its terrific rock score.
  84. 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
  85. 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
  86. Moving and frighteningly real.
  87. 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.
  88. Sicko is likely Moore's most important, most impressive, most provocative film, and it's different from his others in significant ways.
  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. 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.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  95. James Mangold directs it with such energy and passion that it's as if he didn't know it's all been done before.
  96. The riveting documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, is an unexpected knockout.
  97. 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.

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