Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 11,321 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 37% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Chasing Amy
Lowest review score: 0 Boxing Helena
Score distribution:
11321 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Smart and funny, touching and unabashedly sensual... the sweet sleeper of a hot season. [21 Aug 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
  3. A documentary that's admirably frank about the difficulties of insightfully portraying such a widely lauded — and subtly cagey and habitually self-effacing — figure.
  4. Yet another Merchant Ivory triumph.
  5. With American independent filmmaking all too often a ready punching bag in today's cinéaste culture, this frequently dazzling, eccentric portrait of mutually assured destruction is that most delirious of combos: charmingly funny and emotionally terrifying.
  6. This graceful and wise film moves to its denouement with subtlety and, at its end, strikes a note that seems just right for all that has gone before.
  7. What “black lives matter” means in essence, one of this film’s voices says, “is that all lives matter,” a point “13th” makes with undeniable eloquence as well as persuasive force.
  8. 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
  9. It could have done with fewer plot devices, but it is ultimately far more satisfying than countless less ambitious and risky films.
  10. Though definitely one of the best American movies of the year--a work of high ensemble talent and intelligence, gorgeously mounted and crafted, artistically audacious in ways that most American movies don't even attempt--it's still a disappointment… It's not the capstone we might have wanted Coppola to make. [23 Dec 1990, Calendar, p.9]
    • Los Angeles Times
  11. This utterly compelling behind-the-scenes account of that horrific event unfolds with a potent sense of authority and authenticity.
  12. The film packs in so much information and comedy, it would be fun to see it twice: not just to take in what it has to tell us, but also to laugh all over again.
  13. You sense the messier aesthetics of Katz's mumblecore origins have fallen away to reveal a born alchemist of story and imagery — in its arresting visual tour of L.A.'s groovy neighborhoods and rich hideaways, Gemini captures a secret, abiding and even menacing melancholy behind its oft-regarded surfaces.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Fouce mixes vivid, often disturbing archival footage and photos with moving latter-day interviews with several elderly Frank family members and Holocaust survivors, plus glimpses of Otto’s letters and daughter Anne’s famed writings.
  18. What emerges is a rich portrait of one of 20th century pop culture’s great facilitators, whose keen observations, quirky personality and natural affinity for the outré helped greatness happen.
  19. Some filmmakers give us dreams and false worlds in which we can find refuge. For others, though, like the young Mexican filmmaker Carlos Reygadas, the movies aren't an escape from the world but a way more deeply into it.
  20. The twists and turns of the story keep you on your toes until the very end, never giving anything away. The verbal blows drop as fast as the bodies, and if British aristocrats fighting over money, beautifully, is your thing, Crooked House will more than satisfy, it will thrill.
  21. If you can't place the name, or want to know more, Anita is a splendid place to start.
  22. Blood Simple becomes a dazzling comedie noire, a dynamic, virtuoso display by a couple of talented fledgling filmmakers who give the conventions of the genre such a thorough workout that the result is a movie that's fresh and exhilarating (in the way that Jean-Jacques Beineix’s “Diva” was).
  23. Boldly distinctive in its depiction of individuals caught up in a veritable infernal machine designed solely to give pleasure to a monarch, Vatel is a timeless tale of love and sacrifice in a world as opulent as it is cruel.
  24. Although informed by the busy workings of history, politics and personal affairs, Neruda proceeds like a light-footed chase thriller filtered through an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” by the end of which the audience is lost in a crazily spiraling meta-narrative. Who exactly is the star and author of that narrative is one of the film’s more enticing mysteries.
  25. Wish You Were Here is mystery moviemaking at its most intriguing.
  26. Ethan Hawke, in his feature directorial debut, has brought Nicolette Burdette's play to the screen with fluid grace and a perfect blend of dreaminess and grit, expressed in camerawork that seems to float and in Jeff Tweedy's shimmering, gently insistent score.
  27. As unlikely as it is enchanting, The Eagle Huntress tells its documentary story with such sureness that falling under its sway is all but inevitable.
  28. The great achievement in writer-director Jono Oliver's poignant, superb debut, Home, lies in the balance between the film's empathy for those like Jack who seek independence and its compassion for others who may need care indefinitely.
  29. The most memorable thing about Sweet Dreams is that it allows us to experience the resilience, the capacity for happiness these women retain in spite of all they've been through. There's a lesson there for all of us.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. It's just as thrilling as it is edifying.
  35. Deeply moving and devoid of melodrama, These Birds Walk is as pragmatic as its subjects.
  36. All This Panic is a deeply felt tribute to youth but also to growing up; it’s a time capsule of a fleeting, fragile moment when angst is mixed with beauty and everything seems ripe with potential.
  37. 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.
  38. The Dancer is such a bold and assured film, wildly creative and sensual, that it feels far more sophisticated than a debut, and signals Di Giusto as one to watch.
  39. The screenplay — by the French Mauritania director and Malian co-writer Kessen Tall, in her feature debut — is a mesmerizing blend of the horrific and the humorous as it boils ideology down to the personal level.
  40. Bleak, naturalistic and flawlessly acted, Graduation distills the mood and moral decay of a place whose gray skies and nondescript housing blocks feel like permanent reminders of its dark history.
  41. Their Finest is a treat that has something on its mind, a charming concoction that adds a bit of texture and bite to the mix. Genial and engaging with a fine sense of humor, it makes blending the comic with the serious look simpler than it actually is.
  42. For the most part, Ford has done good by the film, infusing a sad story with warmth and humor to spare. While loss is what makes George's experience universal, heart is what gives him such life.
  43. Moves way past the predictable into the shocking. Indeed, the film is so expertly structured and paced that its denouement knocks you off your feet.
  44. Like the best of personal, independent cinema -- it is both marvelously observed and completely individual. There is no film like this film, and that is something you don't hear every day.
  45. Remains a timeless, major work of a master.
  46. An elegant study of devious mind games and emotional perversion, it makes the strangest of psychological dynamics plausible and involving.
  47. This animated retelling of the familiar Old Testament story is playful, high-spirited and unmistakably amusing. It's nice to see that a sense of humor and a sense of values don't inevitably have to cancel each other out.
  48. This fractured fairy tale not only knows there's no substitute for clever writing, it also has the confidence to take that information straight to the bank.
  49. A spare, smart, seductive piece of real movie making with (almost) every loophole covered, a superlative cast and enough tension to keep us all hyperventilating for hours.
  50. 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.
  51. The focus here is always on character and storytelling and the acting that brings it all alive. With thrillers this good becoming a lost art, Wind River is definitely one to savor.
  52. Bagdad Cafe, which Adlon wrote with his wife, Eleonore, and Christopher Doherty, is a miracle of timing and control for all its aura of zany, off-the-cuff spontaneity. It is the work of a director who has such a clear idea of what he wants and where he's going that he can take his time to build up every joke for the maximum payoff.
  53. There is nothing noble about Eric's mission or about the considerable violence he resorts to to get the job done, but Pearce's willingness to give him an integrity of purpose mixes well with Michôd's intense, controlled direction and his ability to blend unexpected, empathetic character moments with all the killing.
  54. 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.
  55. Perhaps it’s best to appreciate Demon not for what it implies but for what it simply and unmistakably is: A bravura testament to a talent silenced far too soon.
  56. Breathtaking reverie worthy of Fellini.
  57. Because Sauper views himself as a storyteller first, as political as "We Come as Friends" may be, it is always dramatic, never didactic.
  58. Not only is the film that good, it's also that wonderfully, inescapably Czech.
  59. It takes exceptional acting to enable a story like this to take hold, and Campion has gotten it here. [19 Nov 1993]
    • Los Angeles Times
  60. Levinson has always been a director who completely understands the concept of the American Dream, and his sensibility is perfect for this story of a man who cared so little about money that he was willing to stake everything he was or ever hoped to be on a crackpot scheme to turn a corner of Nevada desert into the pleasure dome of the American West.
  61. What pulls us into Fireworks Wednesday is the universality of the emotions its characters display and the familiarity of the situations they find themselves in. Farhadi is a master navigator of these waters, and even his earlier films reward our close attention.
  62. The Maid has that particular gift of leaving you off balance in the best possible way, and whenever something like that comes around you owe it to yourself to check it out.
  63. No Way Out's greatest prize is Costner, a leading man at last: fiercely good, intelligent, appreciatively sensual in a performance balanced perfectly between action and introspection. It's a movie that lends itself to more than one sitting, and when you go back, armed with full understanding, Costner's work seems even better than the first time, richer, more complex and many layered.
  64. A dead-on tale of corporate power, courage, cowardice and how we live.
  65. Each scene, beneath its surface calm, throbs with longing, dislocation and intricately woven layers of time.
  66. 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.
  67. 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.
  68. A heady yet disciplined work, a dazzling fable of love, destiny and redemption.
  69. I don't know whether the tall man is happy, but I do know that Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? is intellectually and visually groundbreaking, and most certainly a film.
  70. 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.
  71. The beauty of Bening’s performance lies in those marvelously suggestive layers — all the delicate, tendril-like emotional possibilities that she manages to tuck into the margins of any given moment.
  72. Moving and invaluable.
  73. A film of rare visual poetry that's simultaneously personal, political and philosophical, it's a genuine art film that's also unpretentious and easygoing.
  74. The real skill in Lane’s colorful tale about self-made millionaire, “inventor” and maverick John R. Brinkley is that it revels in how fun it is to believe in the unbelievable, and how sinisterly effective the mixture of fact and fiction can be. That includes, Lane eventually reveals, documentaries themselves.
  75. A captivating film that truly elevates the spirit, Ballets Russes is the most emotionally satisfying documentary since "Mad Hot Ballroom."
  76. Tense and gut-wrenching, Beyond the Gates is a horrifying story told with grace and compassion.
  77. Scrupulously fair-minded yet deliciously ambiguous, What Alice Found, a triumph of sound psychological and artistic judgment, is an unexpected treat for sophisticated audiences.
  78. 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.
  79. Hank is but the latest of Thornton's strikingly taciturn characters in a whole string of movies, but for Berry, Leticia represents a big-screen breakthrough.
  80. It's Patinkin who scores a special triumph. In his role there's a poignant strain of weariness beneath the leaping bravado, a pain under the braggadocio. [25 Sept 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
  81. It's tempting to forget that Cage is not Terence. That would be unfair though, and diminish the sheer ferocity of his performance.
  82. A lyrical poem for some, like watching paint dry for others. I'd argue for embracing the poetic, a rare commodity in American films these days.
  83. Beginning with a gentle lullaby and ending with a tightly packed wallop, Goodnight Mommy is one viscerally chilling, seriously unsettling horror film.
  84. A haunting, immersive portrait of a romance between two men, one that's marked - and marred - by both drug dependency and emotional codependency. Not unlike last year's gay-themed drama, "Weekend," it proves an important and mature piece of business.
  85. Collectively, the mixed approaches illuminate a complicated man, at once spiritual and temperamental.
  86. Records an accident while it's happening, revealing a situation that makes you laugh again and again while weeping, metaphorically at least, for the sheer frustration of it all.
  87. A stirring, thought-provoking feat of filmmaking, accomplished in every facet.
  88. Its title a sly reference to what distinguishes men from beasts, Staying Vertical hinges on the tension between primal instincts and socially proscribed behavior. Guiraudie isn’t just trying to decimate sexual taboos; he is also taking gently comic aim at the overly rigid roles into which people tend to lock themselves.
  89. A darkly compelling film from Austria, can be viewed as either a thriller with psychological overtones or a psychological drama with thriller elements.
  90. Nothing quite prepares you for the rough-cut diamond that is Precious. A rare blend of pure entertainment and dark social commentary, this shockingly raw, surprisingly irreverent and absolutely unforgettable story.
  91. No familiarity with Jia's earlier work is necessary to appreciate "Ash Is Purest White," which is fierce, gripping, emotionally generous and surprisingly funny.
  92. Couldn't be more unlikely, more unfashionable -- or more compelling.
  93. An exquisite performance by Charlotte Rampling, whose work as Lyubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya, the matriarch of the great estate the cherry orchard sits on, is the film's dazzling centerpiece.
  94. Pride is an unapologetic crowd-pleaser of a movie, but it has some potent points to make, and the reality of what happened has a power of its own.
  95. A completely charming reality-based romantic fantasy, both sweet-natured and sympathetic, Show Me Love is a leader of the pack.
  96. Alternately witty, caustic, tender and endlessly imaginative and unpredictable.
  97. It's a fascinating exploration of the things that can thrive in the soil of a jealous mind, fertilized by suspicion and a lack of sight.
  98. Expertly playing with our preconceived notions, Granik's multidimensional portrait also serves as a telling state-of-the-union address, as seen through the caring eyes of her philosophical main subject.
  99. Intimate and human yet deeply ambitious, a powerhouse of a film made with a disturbing vision.
  100. If the film has a governing principle, it’s that love doesn’t take root in a vacuum, and its path is never perfectly straight.

Top Trailers