Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,189 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 0.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Lowest review score: 0 Dead Silence
Score distribution:
8,189 movie reviews
  1. If ever there was a prime example of art bringing order out of chaos, it is Steven Rosenbaum's 7 Days in September. -- The result is a narrative at once personal, admirably coherent and, above all, heartening.
  2. The creators of the magnificent Balseros stayed involved with its subject, a group of Cuban boat people who made it to the United States, for a full seven years. If you put in that kind of time, you witness life happening in front of you in all its compelling, confounding drama. What could be better than that?
  3. It's a rich, emotional story, a wonderfully appealing film made with humor and intelligence, but there is also something almost magical about how it takes the stuff of innumerable previous films -- love, romance and adolescent coming of age -- and turns them into something that feels one of a kind.
  4. Martin Scorsese has created a divinely dark and devious brain tease of a movie in the best noir tradition with its smarter than you'd think cops, their tougher than you'd imagine cases to crack and enough nods to the classic genre for an all-night parlor game.
  5. A confidently adroit thriller that captures a comprehensive sense of life in an edgy, multicultural and economically diverse Paris. The large cast couldn't be better, but the film belongs to Kiberlain.
  6. On a par with Bridges' acting, and a sine qua non for Crazy Heart's success, is the excellent music he sings.
  7. A psychological suspense drama of the utmost rigor and originality.
  8. A mesmerizing, shimmering and amazingly successful adaptation of Time Regained.
  9. 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.
  10. A flawless gem, a gentle yet ultimately ironic meditation on the power of art.
  11. That Two Days, One Night retains such an organic sensibility, even with a major star in the lead, is credit to both filmmakers and actress.
  12. A wholly enveloping experience. Gentle, ravishingly beautiful and awash in everyday sensuality, it so intoxicates you with the elegance and refinement of its filmmaking that even noticing, let alone caring, whether it has a plot starts to seem beside the point.
  13. Finely made and richly satisfying film.
  14. As lengthy and passionate as a drawn-out kiss, Beloved Sisters is a beautifully made romantic drama set in 18th century Germany that's smart, sensual and emotionally resonant.
  15. Amazing, rich in authentic period atmosphere and detail, an ever-changing cyclorama of a movie.
  16. A classic war film, at once elegiac and immediate, that takes you smack into the chaos of combat yet is marked by a detached perspective.
  17. As much a plea to change the system as it is an examination of how music helps individuals, Alive Inside is not the most sophisticated documentary, but its power is indisputable, and it does end on a hopeful note.
  18. What Solondz does so well is create unthinkable moments in a "Leave It to Beaver" world, where unmentionables are aired in the most innocuous ways to startling effect. In Life During Wartime, he's done just that, creating a relationship agitprop that pops and sizzles; just be careful not to get burned.
  19. As David Rakoff once wrote, "Youth isn't wasted on the young. It is perpetrated on the young." Exactly how is brilliantly captured by Andrew Bujalski in his debut feature, Funny Ha Ha.
  20. Optimistic and humanistic to the core, Me and You and Everyone We Know is a paean to perseverance and finding ways to cope.
  21. Blessed with a loose, anarchic B-picture soul that encourages you to enjoy yourself even when you're not quite sure what's going on, the scruffy "Guardians" is irreverent in a way that can bring the first "Star Wars" to mind.
  22. A potent mixture of sentiment and grit, and it showcases the talents of its young principals.
  23. Not only is it Merchant's best directorial effort to date but also is among the finest films the Merchant Ivory company has ever made.
  24. 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
  25. This is definitely animation for grown-ups - its look is voluptuous, sexy and sultry; its Latin-inflected Dizzy Gillespie sound is seductive; and its story of young lovers whose passions are tested is timeless.
  26. Genteelly erotic, surprisingly emotional, exquisitely made from start to finish.
  27. Assayas has such a steady hand as a director, he knows precisely how to let all of Gilles' inner angst play out. His nostalgia for those past days can be felt in the affection and forgiving way the indiscretions of youth are portrayed.
  28. All of this romantic back and forth unfolds gradually and in charming ensemble style. As the characters think about seducing each other, as they inevitably complicate their lives without being able to help themselves, the film is simultaneously seducing us.
  29. Though the breathless tale and full-throttle tunes give "Filmage" plenty of rollicking energy, it's the through-line of genuine soulfulness and tireless artistic commitment that sets it apart.
  30. Proves a highly auspicious feature debut for Moors and Porto as well as a much-deserved return to the limelight for Washington. Don't miss it.
  31. Nightcrawler is pulp with a purpose. A smart, engaged film powered by an altogether remarkable performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, it is melodrama grounded in a disturbing reality, an extreme scenario that is troubling because it cuts close to the bone.
  32. The combined intensity of these two performances (Jones and Blanchett) obliterates objections and raises the stakes in what might otherwise have been a standard western.
  33. An excellent example of its genre, with Pennebaker capturing the excitement of what was a very special, emotion-charged occasion.
  34. This is a director's film, and Ostlund knows precisely the effects he is after. This filmmaker is in control at each and every moment, and does he ever know what he is doing.
  35. She's Beautiful When She's Angry, director Mary Dore's incisive portrait of so-called second-wave feminism of the late 1960s, is an exceptional chronicle, its mix of archival material and new interviews bristling with the energy and insight of one of the most important social movements of the 20th century.
  36. In nearly every moment, an incredibly rich mix of their music, groundbreaking, defining, which alone would almost be enough. That It Might Get Loud comes with a righteous story too is a lovely bonus.
  37. A delicious and delicately funny look at the residents of a Copenhagen neighborhood coping with the befuddling complications life tosses at them.
  38. Marvin's performance, much enhanced by "The Reconstruction," is a marvel.
  39. In an instance of director, stars and material melding flawlessly, Spider is a brilliantly realized depiction of a mentally ill individual.
  40. A mind-bending and mesmerizing thriller that takes its time unlocking one mystery only to uncover another, all to chilling and immensely satisfying effect.
  41. McGarry has created something that feels personal, vital and revelatory, allowing the rest of us behind the curtain.
  42. It has opulent, stylized settings of elegance, grandeur and scope, flawless special effects, and awesome martial arts combat staged by the master, Sammo Hung. Yet bravura spectacle never overwhelms either the plot or the key characters. Chang Chia-lu's intricate script bristles with wit and suspense; the film from start to finish is a terrific entertainment.
  43. The perfect summer tonic for mature audiences looking for sophisticated escape. It's filled with beautiful people in gorgeous, exotic locales.
  44. 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
  45. There is nothing bravura or overly emotional about Spielberg's direction here, but the impeccable filmmaking is no less impressive for being quiet and to the point.
  46. 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.
  47. Bardem's performance is a marvel of restraint and control, both physical and emotional.
  48. Much of the film is told compellingly and heartbreakingly through the wide-eyed innocence of five children.
  49. Rather than observing this family, we feel we are part of it, and that draws us in as nothing else can.
  50. An exquisitely evocative movie that elevates rueful melancholia to a superpower.
  51. It's unique, powerful stuff.
  52. In its ability to let us hear firsthand what life-and-death combat does to the human body and spirit, this film has few peers.
  53. First-time writer-director David Robert Mitchell tells a coming-of-age tale with such freshness and such bemused insight it's as if it has never been told before.
  54. Kon's best work yet.
  55. 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
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. '71
    Nothing is extraneous, no moment that doesn't enhance the tension of this nightmare scenario is allowed to survive, until the proceedings become, in the best possible sense, almost unbearable to watch.
  59. Teaches important lessons in the most casual, joyful way. How it manages to do that is probably the biggest secret of all.
  60. A remarkable film.
  61. Im Kwon Taek's exquisite Chunhyang brings to the screen one of Korea's most cherished folk tales, a timeless romance in which the lovers are challenged by differences in class.
  62. It is best to let this stunning film simply wash over you and trust that all will become clear enough in time. Vengo in a sense is a concert film tied together with the slenderest of plots.
  63. Performances this strong and direction this sensitive make us simply grateful to have an emotional story we can sink our teeth into and enjoy.
  64. Rarely have a novelist and filmmaker been better matched.
  65. A deeply satisfying feat of storytelling, Bless Me, Ultima makes a difficult task look easy. It combines innocence and experience, the darkness and wonder of life, in a way that is not easy to categorize but a rich pleasure to watch.
  66. Humor, sentiment and melodrama strike a balance as he brings to life nine major characters and a host of others as well.
  67. 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.
  68. This buoyant, giddy comedy of catastrophe is the funniest film of the year so far, possibly the most amusing mainstream live-action comedy since "There's Something About Mary."
    • Los Angeles Times
  69. The film is never more real than when Jimmy unloads his anger on someone close to him, a frequent occurrence. Eminem is an actor with a rare gift for rage, and movie careers, even big ones, have been built on less.
  70. At a time when so many in this country are at odds about what represents America at its best, it's refreshing and then some to see a film that everyone can agree is an example of exactly that.
  71. A superbly shot film of emotional extravagance, sentimentality and even humor, House of Fools is a film that is ultimately quite moving but which probably could only have been pulled off by a director steeped in that famous Russian soul.
  72. Caesar Must Die shows us in the starkest possible terms the electric power of drama to move and touch not only audiences but the actors who bring so much of themselves to their performances.
  73. Complex, challenging and richly rewarding, it glows with the kind of wrenchingly selfless portrayals that are the hallmark of the Bergman classics.
  74. Intelligently written and directed with a pleasing frankness by Bill Condon and well played by Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and a strong supporting cast, the film skillfully uses the forms of old Hollywood to tell a story that would have given heart failure to Harry Cohn and his fellow tycoons.
  75. Like an exquisite minimalist painting - its beauty will move you, its simplicity will fool you. For there are layers and complexities to be found in the film, like the many mysteries it slowly exposes.
  76. Irresistible, hugely satisfying feminist fairy tale.
  77. Despite the pain, sadness and vast emotional upheaval depicted here, Bridegroom is also a movie filled with hope and passion, dignity and pride, and many stirring pockets of joy.
  78. Brings maximum subtlety, nuance and insight into the timeless story of first love.
  79. 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.
  80. A first-rate contribution to the Holocaust canon.
  81. An expertly designed theme park ride of a movie that packs nonstop thrills.
  82. This remarkably revealing and timely film, in which the depiction of pain and sorrow is suffused with a sense of beauty and a graceful, flowing style, more than lives up to glowing advance notices.
  83. Sicko is likely Moore's most important, most impressive, most provocative film, and it's different from his others in significant ways.
  84. [A] smart, relentlessly chilling thriller that opts for originality over cheaply rejiggered jolts.
  85. A deceptively simple, deeply resonant story about the inherent loneliness of family, the odds against assimilation and the enormous distances that can divide two people.
  86. 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.
  87. It's just that when a movie is this close, with so much of the sports flavor (co-producer Thom Mount is co-owner of the real Durham Bulls), you like to see it perfect. [15 June 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
  88. The singular achievement of Jonathan Karsh's graceful and rigorous documentary is that he enables his audiences to see his heroine's family through her very clear but always loving eyes.
  89. As uplifting as anything you will find in theaters.
  90. An extraordinarily intimate, deeply affecting and revelatory documentary on how pain and passion can come together in a creative artist.
  91. It's a film of high energy, punctuated by rock music and a dark wit, yet it is capable of profound reflection and tragic irony.
  92. The disturbing, involving, always-complex story of British mathematician Alan Turing is a tale crafted to resonate for our time, and the smartly entertaining The Imitation Game gives it the kind of crackerjack cinematic presentation that's pure pleasure to experience.
  93. Working with excellent site-specific music and this trio of exemplary -- and exceptionally well-cast -- actresses, director Bertuccelli does a superb job of touching just the right emotional notes in recounting the consequences of deception and the importance of family.
  94. It's a chilling, completely fascinating documentary.
  95. A heart-tugger made totally irresistible because of the combination of Kitano's wry, sly sense of humor and his rigorous detachment.
  96. 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.
  97. Well-directed with exceptional access by veteran documentarian Doug Pray, whose previous films include "Hype!," "Scratch" and "Art & Copy," Levitated Mass in essence intercuts three stories, each of which is more unexpected than one might imagine.
  98. A moving and infuriating look at the 2008 murder of openly gay teenager Lawrence "Larry" King.
  99. Bastards is a thriller truly etched in darkness, pools of black broken mostly by the stricken yet soldiering faces of her main characters, like ships in a sea of stormy nights.
  100. Filmmaker Leon has deftly structured Gimme the Loot as a picaresque tale, an anecdotal, observational film that introduces us to all manner of eccentric and original characters. Will Malcolm and Sophia get what they want, what they need, or something in between? The only sure thing is that being along for the ride is pleasure of the most unexpected sort.

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