Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,892 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: 61
Highest review score: 100 Boy Meets Girl
Lowest review score: 0 Chaos
Score distribution:
7,892 movie reviews
  1. Miller and Futterman avoid the pitfalls of the genre by refusing to mythologize the artist, plunging instead into the soul of the man.
  2. 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.
  3. In his knockout directorial debut writer Kevin Williamson taps into such universal memories with his shrewd and energetic dark comedy.
  4. It earns its considerable impact by telling an unnerving story and leaving it, in ways both daring and effective, fundamentally unresolved.
  5. James Mangold directs it with such energy and passion that it's as if he didn't know it's all been done before.
  6. It turns out to be an especially warm comedy with a hidden heart. It's a film whose humor has feeling behind it because writer-director Peter Hedges doesn't let his comedy overpower an understanding of how emotionally weighted family situations are always going to be.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. In Auto Focus, the strangely wonderful and weirdly touching new film from Paul Schrader, the comedy and the tragedy keep getting mixed up.
  10. The most accurate assault against the media age since "Network," To Die For's killer lines and wicked sensibility are given added poignancy by the off-center, sensitive performance of Joaquin Phoenix, River's younger brother, the only person more deluded about Suzanne than she is about herself.
  11. Here, the message is the moviemaking and the unparalleled joy you get from a film that can carry you off so completely, making you forget about everything save for the beautiful lies in front of you.
  12. It's a B movie made with A-student love for the relentless thrill of bodies in brutal motion.
  13. Ulee's Gold stands out for its sureness, its quiet emotional force and writer-director Victor Nunez's ability to find and nurture the mystery and power in the events of an ordinary life.
  14. An enjoyable celebratory ode to a fiercely entertaining counterculture-inspired genre.
  15. As atmospheric and moody as a film noir, the stylish, sometimes perplexing Purple Butterfly is a remarkable period piece, evoking the bustling, dense and increasingly dangerous Shanghai of the '30s
  16. It is a rare thing to witness the creative process. But in the excellent new documentary Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, filmmaker Ben Shapiro gives us fly-on-the-wall access over a 10-year period to an acclaimed artist as he envisions, designs and executes his surreal commentary on small-town American life in the form of an epic photo installation, "Beneath the Roses."
  17. Director Judy Chaikin, who co-wrote the film with its deft editor, Edward Osei-Gyimah, infuses this fine portrait with grace, nostalgia and a well-calibrated dose of social commentary.
  18. Carefully made, involving and old-fashioned, the superior work it's inspired gives it an impact that lingers even when the endgame is over.
  19. In its mix are ethical quandaries in biotechnology, nature versus nurture and an adorable-sexy-disturbing monster. So there's that. But it wins best in show by focusing on one of the weirder relationship triangles in recent memory.
  20. It leaves you stirred and uplifted not only by its music but also by the determination and courage of the people who sang and danced it on the way to a freer life.
  21. When I Walk is extraordinarily accomplished, poignant, and wise.
  22. For Fernanda Montenegro, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Italy's late Giulietta Masina (Federico Fellini's wife and frequent star) in appearance and talent, "Central Station" is a personal triumph and a rich cinematic experience.
  23. An exquisite period film from a script Akira Kurosawa did not live to direct. It has a softer edge than the master probably would have delivered, but it is deeply affecting.
  24. A pleasure in all ways.
  25. Abounds in psychological suspense and plays like a mystery film, even though the mystery at hand may be purely one of the human heart.
  26. 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.
  27. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, as high school seniors Sutter and Aimee, bring such an authentic face of confidence and questioning, indifference and need, pain and denial, friendship and first love, that it will take you back to that time if you're no longer there, and light a path if you are.
  28. A remarkably thoughtful drama, Lantana makes it clear not only how hard to come by any emotional comfort is in this life, but more important, why we can't give up on the struggle.
  29. A dynamite concert film.
  30. A substantial film of unexpected emotional force. And when at a certain point it seems to slip the bonds of this world and take a leap of faith into an almost mythological dimension, it breathlessly takes us along for that memorable ride.
  31. It takes two to be sisters, two to have a rivalry, and two exceptional actresses to turn Hilary and Jackie into a compelling look at the most intimate and troubling of family dynamics.
  32. A fervent assertion that an individual has the right to pursue his own path lies at the vibrant heart of The Business of Fancydancing.
  33. Always looking forward, Godard remains remarkably capable of seeing the world and thinking about filmmaking with clear eyes and fresh ideas.
  34. What results is a thoughtful, analytical yet still emotional film, meticulously investigated and absolutely compelling.
  35. Working with cinematographer Harris Savides and serving as the film's editor, he (Van Sant) has fashioned a visual style and a narrative shape that has the quality of a waking dream, then a nightmare. Rarely do form and content add up with such harmonious grace and power.
  36. Im recounts the painter's life in bold strokes rather than with the literalist's painstaking detail, and in the process tells us more about the mysteries of genius than a bushel full of quotidian fact.
  37. This is a film done right by just about every measure. The extremes of the story seep deep into your bones -- the beauty, the allure, the desperation and especially the cold in this world where life literally hangs on rope and what Mother Nature chooses to throw at you.
  38. Sublime psychological thriller.
  39. Never loses its priceless stamp of individuality. Reduced to its essence, this is a joke told by a person, not a corporation--and that makes all the difference.
  40. The Catherine Breillat-directed period piece is an extreme cinematic pleasure, a well-told yarn of merciless desire.
  41. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg has stood the test of time as beautifully as Deneuve and seems likely to enchant future generations as fully as it has audiences over the past four decades.
  42. The film, which came out in 1970 after a censorship battle with the Franco regime, catches — and releases — all the tension of shifting sexual mores. You can almost sense the director's pleasure in taking apart the duplicities of a patriarchal Spanish society. [21 Feb. 2013]
  43. Cassavetes' riveting film not only re-creates the glory days of the Z Channel through a generous offering of film clips and interviews, but also presents a clear-eyed portrait of its creative driving force, Jerry Harvey, and the tragic circumstances of his death.
  44. Moll, in only his second feature, evokes a sense of foreboding, playing the routine against the unnerving, the humorous against the sinister, with a wit and deftness that might have impressed Hitchcock.
  45. A splendid instance of a surrealist vision that serves to heighten the impact of genuine emotions experienced by believably real people.
  46. The more things change, the more we have to laugh if we are to have a prayer of remaining sane, and the Pythons are the best possible step in that direction.
  47. Graceland is a tense, twisty cinematic artichoke brimming with moral complexity and intriguing shades of gray.
  48. A small gem.
  49. 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.
  50. The rousing The Fighter tries a number of risky maneuvers and manages to make them pay off in the end. The movie initially feels like more of a near thing than the filmmakers anticipated, but as in boxing it's only the final decision that counts.
  51. Brilliantly choreographed and shot, Kung Fu Hustle is often grisly, visually spectacular and unabashedly silly, sometimes all at once.
  52. This is a taut psychological study, based on a true story, of the complexities of personal power relationships that begins with the kind of shattering revelation that would be the conclusion of most films.
  53. Marvelously colorful, casually inventive and completely wacky, The King and the Mockingbird just might be the best animated film of the year.
  54. A comedy of the most delicately balanced perfection.
  55. If it weren't for the masterful work of director Dover Kosashvili, this rich, evocative film wouldn't have nearly the impact it does.
  56. 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.
    • 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.
  57. A sparkling romantic comedy, the kind of picture that glides by so gracefully and unpretentiously that it's only upon reflection that you realize how much skill, caring and good judgment had to have gone into its making.
  58. A throwback to the days of old-school caper movies like "To Catch a Thief," Duplicity is just the kind of sophisticated amusement you would expect from filmmaker Tony Gilroy.
  59. Naked is a mesmerizing character study, an attempt to stretch the emotional boundaries of truth on film as far as they will go. For once we think we've seen as much of Johnny as we can take, like an etching by Escher we start to see something else, a glimpse of another person easily missed.
  60. 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.
  61. A fast and furious action-adventure. The film's comedy counts for as much as the clever and risky ways in which Wahlberg and company go after the nasty Norton, who has holed up in a Bel-Air mansion with a world-class security system.
  62. 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.
  63. A film of warmth, insight, humor and surprising originality… [It] isn't perfect, but when it's good, which is every moment John Cusack is on screen, it's a living joy. And when it's not-so-good--earthbound and not inventive enough--it s till almost single-handedly redeems the breed. [14 April 1989]
    • Los Angeles Times
  64. It is a bravura work that attests to Pineyro's command of a style rich in texture and nuance and also of multilayered material.
  65. Lucie Aubrac has it all: a tender romance, acute suspense, terrific acting, and a camera style and and score that are beautiful yet understated...a major work, possessing breadth, depth and passion.
  66. Aside from superb ensemble work from an 18-member cast, "Together's sense of human potential is its greatest pleasure.
  67. 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
  68. The result is as gripping as a title fight and as mesmerizing as a conversation with a cobra. You may not be happy with everything said, but you will not be bored.
  69. Offers up a subversive comic sensibility, one that somehow combines Buster Keaton's deadpan stare with Frank Capra's tireless optimism and filters them both through a black-ice Finnish point of view. Welcome to Aki World.
  70. A martial arts valentine to the power of fighting women. It's a slick and delirious Hong Kong action film.
  71. Denis and Testud, in a wondrous collaboration of a gifted director and equally gifted actress, succeed in making Christine a tragic figure.
  72. A luminous, piercing film from the Elizabeth Bowen novel, richly evokes a world of privilege on the verge of disintegration.
  73. 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.
  74. A beautifully structured and photographed film, John Turturro's rapturous Passione offers a vibrant exploration and celebration of Neapolitan music in all its grit and glory, presenting 23 musical numbers that encompass a millennium's worth of influences.
  75. Its charming story of the delicate intersection of three highly individual lives is the kind of completely personal yet universal film that the festival and the entire independent movement came into being to celebrate. And it does it all in 88 deft and funny minutes.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Williams' performance is remarkable not only for its depth but for its stillness.
  76. By turns heartbreaking, amusing and disturbing, the film features people from different regions, economic classes and religions, recounting stories that are sometimes bleak, sometimes encouraging, but always compelling.
  77. Mostow, with his first feature, has made such a convincing, fast-paced, edge-of-the-seat thriller that you'd swear you'd never seen anything quite like it.
  78. A film of stunning impact.
  79. Made under unique and wrenching circumstances, it gained poignancy and a kind of purity from its troubles, and an already affecting film ended up suffused with emotion.
  80. 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.
  81. Paranormal Activity 3, the latest installment in the low-budget horror franchise, is far and away the sharpest, most wildly aware film in the series.
  82. There's nothing casual about the way this film has been put together, yet that painstaking care leads to laughter that is completely unrestrained.
  83. Even though there are tedious stretches with less-than-riveting characters, the film gradually pulls you into its claustrophobic spell and becomes acutely suspenseful in its final half-hour.
  84. A seamless model of form and content. (My only quibble is the poor quality of the digital video, which doesn't do justice to Johnson's work.)
  85. While the intolerance fueling this dark, existential comedy won't be to everyone's liking, the film's cerebral beat-down is a strange and sardonic thing of beauty.
  86. Dark, dangerous and a great deal of wicked, amoral fun. A film that manages to be as clever, playful and mock violent as its title, Lock, Stock was a major hit in its native Britain and its cheeky tone, simultaneously calculated and off the cuff, is as hip as anyone could want. [5 Mar 1999]
    • Los Angeles Times
  87. 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.
  88. Quietly devastating. [15 Dec 1993]
    • Los Angeles Times
  89. A drama of extraordinary power and insight with dazzling performances from not only Spacey but also Danny DeVito (who may well be at his best ever) and from newcomer Peter Facinelli.
  90. A stylish work from an accomplished, sophisticated filmmaker that bristles with intelligence and gleams with Scott's and Davis' multifaceted, astutely judged portrayals.
  91. A film of rough edges and no easy answers, nearly perfect in its imperfection.
  92. The result is a career milestone [for Hal Hartley] and a film that could become a landmark in American independent cinema.
  93. Handsome as all Allen films are, and it proceeds with the brisk, sophisticated air of throwaway confidence and lack of pretense that we expect from the contemporary master of grown-up comedy.
    • Los Angeles Times
  94. Not only do Grant, Scott Thomas, Callow and company handle the sprightly dialogue with aplomb, they are also adept at the doubletakes and befuddled looks that make Four Weddings both amusing and irresistible all the way through the not-to-be-missed final credits. [9 March 1994, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  95. Swimming Upstream evokes time and place without being showy about it and offers an altogether invigorating experience.
  96. Corrente's gift for evoking the lives of blue-collar men that made his debut film, "Federal Hill," so appealing blends perfectly with the antic sensibility of the Farrellys.
  97. Dreamgirls is the entire musical package, a triumph of old school on-screen glamour, and we wouldn't want it any other way.
  98. 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.

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