Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 9,829 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Shakespeare in Love
Lowest review score: 0 Being Human
Score distribution:
9829 movie reviews
  1. The most convincing war movie ever made.
    • Los Angeles Times
  2. Nearly three hours long, and deliberately paced at that, this first feature ever in the Inuit language is a demanding experience. But the rewards for those who risk the journey are simply extraordinary.
  3. Set in an enchanting locale where the potential for magic is everywhere, this impeccable animated film puts its complete trust in the spirit of make-believe.
  4. Masterfully put-together, made with confidence, intelligence and command.
  5. A director in command of everything from the watchful eyes of his actors, to the beauty of a misty morning light, to the heart-stopping vectors of arrows and swords bursting across a widescreen frame, Hu creates cinema that's the definition of kineticism.
  6. This delicious satire about aging hipsters and their discontents is everything we've come to expect from the best of Noah Baumbach, as well as several things more.
  7. It closes the trilogy like a lightning blast followed by the ominous, resonant drone of thunder. Great action sequences crop up frequently today, but great action movies are always few and far between. Beyond Thunderdome is one, every bit as much as its two predecessors.
  8. Nebraska offers something deeper and more mature, the ability to make us care about its characters and their story on a different level than Payne has given us before.
  9. James Ponsoldt's magnificent The End of the Tour gives us two guys talking, and the effect is breathtaking.
  10. This is a film that insinuates itself deeply into our awareness. It's that rare pulp story with something on its mind, an unnerving, socially conscious thriller with a killer sense of narrative drive.
  11. Inside Out manages to be honest and unafraid but never cheaply sentimental where emotion is concerned, evoking a largeness of spirit whose ability to be moving sneaks up and takes us by surprise.
  12. A little movie with big truths, a work of such fierce intelligence and emotional honesty that it blows away the competition when it comes to contemporary romantic comedy.
  13. A revelatory, strikingly emotional look at a complex, troubled, enormously gifted man.
  14. An intense, nihilistic thriller as well as a model of implacable storytelling, this is a film you can't stop watching even though you very much wish you could. That's because No Country escorts you through a world so pitilessly bleak, "you put your soul at hazard," as one character says, to be part of it.
  15. “Donnie Darko" was one of the best pictures released in 2001. Now that it has returned in a 20-minute longer--and richer -- director's cut, it seems sure to be ranked as one of the key American films of the decade.
  16. Authenticity gives the movie its witty, heartwarming, hopeful, sentimental, searing and relatable edge. It is merciless in probing the tender spots of times like these, and tough-guy sweet in patching up the wounds.
  17. His is a triumph of pure filmmaking, a pitiless, unrelenting, no-excuses war movie so thoroughly convincing it's frequently difficult to believe it is a staged re-creation.
  18. The Ghost Writer is the kind of impeccable adult entertainment, able to alternate edge-of-your-seat episodes with bleakly comic moments, that Hitchcock used to specialize in and that Polanski himself realized so successfully in "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby."
  19. It's hard to believe, but Hal Holbrook, one of the stage and screen's enduring talents, has never had the solo lead in a feature film. That has been duly rectified with the actor's achingly memorable star performance in the superb That Evening Sun.
  20. [A] crackerjack thriller, at once brooding, claustrophobic and unbearably tense.
  21. Exciting, terrifying, worrisome stuff saturates every second of Prisoners, holding you captive, keeping you guessing until the bitter end.
  22. A gritty, deceptively low-key, no-fuss, no-frills movie of consistent originality and surprise in which suspense arises straight up from the heroine's evolving character.
  23. As essential in its own way as Anton Karas' celebrated zither work was to "The Third Man," Lola's music is perfectly suited to the film's aims and just about addictive in its throbbing, insinuating rhythms.
  24. This is a police procedural, if you will, about what's been called the artistic crime of the century.
  25. It was this ineffably poignant semiautobiographical reverie that unleashed fully Fellini's shimmering, flowing poetic style, echoed perfectly in a plaintive score by Fellini's potently evocative collaborator, Nino Rota.
  26. The Invisible Woman is an exceptional film about love, longing and regret. It's further proof, if proof were needed, that classic filmmaking done with passion, sensitivity and intelligence results in cinema fully capable of blowing you away.
  27. Perhaps the director's most touching, most elegiac work yet, Million Dollar Baby is a film that does both the expected and the unexpected, that has the nerve and the will to be as pitiless as it is sentimental.
  28. The movie is first fascinating, then terrifying.
  29. The fact that this kind of serious material ends up playing puckishly funny as well as poignant is a tribute both to Coppola and to her do-or-die decision to cast Murray in the lead role.
  30. You feel protective about Leigh's work because its almost indescribable virtues touch the heart, yet far from being some delicate flower, Life Is Sweet has the wild, brazen, anything-goes energy of a 2-year-old, willing to take chances that would freeze the blood of another, more timidly conventional film.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Those who can surrender to the Quays' poetic logic will find The Piano Tuner to be nothing short of a masterpiece.
  31. Although its computer-generated imagery is impressive, the major surprise of this bright foray into a new kind of animation is how much cleverness has been invested in story and dialogue.
  32. Made with a palpable sense of urgency, this tense, propulsive motion picture is a model of what mainstream entertainment can be like when everything goes right.
  33. Indignation tells a very particular story, one that’s bittersweet, heartbreaking and bleakly comic all at once, and it gets it right.
  34. Jacques Rivette has brought the Balzac short story to screen as a superb chamber drama. His is a graceful work of austerity and formality that perfectly captures the chaos of repressed emotions that see beneath the rigid conventions of aristocratic society.
  35. Filmmaking at its most fearless, with Ostergaard creating a suspenseful, harrowing account of his original key subject, known only as "Joshua."
  36. An exquisite love story directed with admirable subtlety and sensitivity.
  37. The film is then not so much a meditation but a reverie, a swirl of emotions and ideas, managing to be both calmly reflective and skittishly anxious at the same time. Calvary is a serious comedy, a funny drama, a ruminative film about life and a lively film about death.
  38. Echoes the unmistakable freshness and excitement of the Nouvelle Vague, the sense of joy in being alive and making movies, that made those works distinctive and unforgettable.
  39. Warsaw Uprising is not only a unique, remarkably assembled documentary-narrative hybrid but also a powerful look at the personal and public devastation that can occur during wartime. Movies rarely feel as authentic as this.
  40. The film's immense cast and crew, headed by director Michael Bay, writer Randall Wallace and stars Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale, blend artistry and technology to create a blockbuster entertainment that has passion, valor and tremendous action.
  41. To think of a film this assured, this unified and this dizzyingly potent, you have to go back to "Blue Velvet." [22 Sept 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
  42. The music is so rich and completely satisfying and the characters so appealing Once makes us believe that this is all happening right in front of our eyes. We fall for each of these young people at the precise moment they are falling for each other, and what could be better than that?
  43. The result is a top-drawer melodrama, a polished example of commercial movie-making that manages to improve on the original while retaining its best-selling spirit. [30 Jun 1993 Pg. F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  44. Song of the Sea is a wonder to behold. This visually stunning animation masterwork, steeped in Irish myth, folklore and legend, so adroitly mixes the magical and the everyday that to watch it is to be wholly immersed in an enchanted world.
  45. Anderson, who makes as impressive a directing debut as has been seen in some time, creates a perfectly modulated mystery that doesn't even feel like one. It's a character play, and Hall, Reilly and Paltrow are so convincingly damaged they take on the properties of fine china.
  46. Because it is confident of its story and its powers, “Howards End” takes the time to establish itself, to allow its characters the space to demonstrate subtlety and complexity.
  47. L.A. Confidential, with an exceptional ensemble cast directed by Curtis Hanson from James Ellroy's densely plotted novel, looks to be the definitive noir for this particular time and place.
  48. While most films are fortunate if they succeed on any level, The Return works easily on several, making as powerful a mark emotionally as it does visually and even allegorically. Yet the film so catches you up in its compelling story, you're almost not aware of how masterful a piece of cinema you're watching.
  49. Phoenix is an intoxicating witches' brew, equal parts melodrama and moral parable, that audaciously mixes diverse elements to compelling, disturbing effect.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A brilliantly written black comedy in the tradition of "To Die For" and "Flirting With Disaster," The Opposite of Sex was worth the wait.
  50. Some might well accuse this stubbornly singular woman of living in the past, but to watch Aquarius is to see her surrendering again and again to the bliss of the present moment — never more so than in a final scene of thrilling, annihilating ferocity.
  51. What Fire at Sea appears to be and what it is are not the same thing, and it's that difference that makes it a masterful documentary.
  52. Effervescent, unflappable, supremely pleased with herself, Cher (delightfully played by the much-publicized Alicia Silverstone) is the comic centerpiece of Clueless, a wickedly funny teen-age farce from writer-director Amy Heckerling that, like its heroine, turns out to have more to it than anyone could anticipate. [19 July 1995]
    • Los Angeles Times
  53. The Master takes some getting used to. This is a superbly crafted film that's at times intentionally opaque, as if its creator didn't want us to see all the way into its heart of darkness.
  54. Creates magic of a completely different sort. It makes the unlikeliest subject unforgettable, finding drama, beauty, even poetry in simple things and simple lives.
  55. Del Toro is almost alone in his ability to re-create on screen the wide-eyed exhilaration and disturbing grotesqueness that is the legacy of reading comics on the page.
  56. A Separation is totally foreign and achingly familiar. It's a thrilling domestic drama that offers acute insights into human motivations and behavior as well as a compelling look at what goes on behind a particular curtain that almost never gets raised.
  57. [Filho's] mastery of pacing, theme and stylistic eccentricity throughout Neighboring Sounds is so assured as to be breathtaking. Don't miss it.
  58. Those who see it will, quite frankly, not believe their luck. It is that satisfying, that engrossing, that good.
  59. Powerful, profound and beautifully rendered.
  60. Reichardt has never been one to reduce her characters to an easy emotional or dramatic equation, and here the everyday challenge of being female in a male-dominated profession is just one element on an extraordinarily fine-grained human canvas.
  61. Despite this lack of narration, Our Daily Bread never fails to enthrall because of the impeccable eye -- for composition, for color, for movement within the frame -- of filmmaker Geyrhalter.
  62. A superlative work, offering a rich emotional experience that at the same time calls attention to the seemingly endless suffering of the Afghan people.
  63. Mud
    One of the most creatively rich and emotionally rewarding movies to come along this year.
  64. The Red Turtle is a visually stunning poetic fable, but there’s more on its mind than simply beauty.
  65. A convulsively funny affair.[15 July 1988, Calendar, p. 6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  66. A documentary whose visual magnificence is more than matched by unforgettable characters and political urgency.
  67. The performances of Close and Silver are flawless, but it is Irons' portrait that remains behind, an enigmatic after-image… Reversal of Fortune is a delectable tour through facets of the lives of the rich and famous that Robin Leach wouldn't touch with a forked stick. [17 Oct 1990]
    • Los Angeles Times
  68. Told with wit, genuine poignancy and all kinds of humor, Venus charts the unlikely relationship between a man in his 70s and a young woman more than half a century his junior.
  69. Arrival is really Adams' film, a showcase for her ability to quietly and effectively meld intelligence, empathy and reserve.
  70. Intense, hypnotic, assured, Croupier mesmerizes from its opening image of a roulette ball on the move.
    • Los Angeles Times
  71. An astonishing technological feat, but what is even more remarkable is that the technology does not overwhelm the artistry.
  72. Never one to shy away from challenges, Morris has come up with one of the best documentaries of this or any year.
  73. A tremendously exciting science-fiction thriller that's as disturbing as it sounds. This is a popular entertainment with a knockout punch so intense and unnerving it'll have you worrying if it's safe to close your eyes at night.
  74. Spotlight doesn't call attention to itself. Its screenplay is self-effacing, its accomplished direction is intentionally low key, and it encourages its fistful of top actors to blend into an eloquent ensemble.
  75. An extraordinarily moving examination of how the AIDS epidemic both devastated and transformed San Francisco's gay community, this clear-eyed and soulful documentary brings us inside the contagion in a way that is so intimate, so personal, you feel like you're hearing about these catastrophic events for the first time.
  76. The piercingly realistic Captain Phillips will exceed your expectations.
  77. Low Down is one from the heart. It's a melancholy, evocative, beautifully made memory piece, unblinking and unromanticized, a lovely film that brings great emotion and a dead-on feeling for time, place and recaptured mood to a story that is as universal as it is personal.
  78. Smartly written by Aaron Sorkin, directed to within an inch of its life by David Fincher and anchored by a perfectly pitched performance by Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network is a barn-burner of a tale that unfolds at a splendid clip.
  79. Shrewdly imagined and persuasively made, Ex Machina is a spooky piece of speculative fiction that's completely plausible, capable of both thinking big thoughts and providing pulp thrills. But even saying that doesn't do this quietly unnerving film full justice.
  80. A perfect storm of a motion picture, with an icy, immaculate director unexpectedly taking on deeply emotional subject matter.
  81. The film's three leads are extraordinary, but what Moore does with her role is so beyond the parameters of what we call great acting that it nearly defies categorization.
  82. Incisive yet supple, wrenching yet deeply pleasurable, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada easily ranks among the year's best pictures.
  83. As someone who was part of the Resistance, Melville knew enough to neither melodramatically glorify nor cynically devalue the heroism he presents. This is people doing what needed to be done, Army of Shadows says, this is the way it was.
  84. A whole world can be fit into 76 minutes, and that's what the splendid documentary OT: our town manages to do.
  85. A thoroughly original accomplishment of a high artistic order, Northfork features flawless, spare production design by Ichelle Spitzig and the Polish brothers' father, Del, and cinematographer M. David Mullen's striking images slide effortlessly into Dalí-like Surrealism.
  86. To see The Wind Rises is to simultaneously marvel at the work of a master and regret that this film is likely his last.
  87. One reason Boal makes such a potent combination with Bigelow is that her directing style moves us right along. She is so good with both action and creating a convincing look and feel for the film that the time it takes to get up to speed with the complicated plot does not feel like a problem.
  88. The Silence is an exemplary German-language thriller, a complex and disturbing examination of guilt, violence and psychological torment that chills us to the core not once but two times over.
  89. Parse it any way you like, Miyazaki's gifts as an animator place him in a category of his own. To see his latest film is to be somehow reminded of Italians who could hear Verdi's operas as soon as they were sung or English readers who could experience the novels of Dickens episode by episode.
  90. Electrifying… As writer, director and editor, [Soderbergh’s] control is mesmerizing. It's also more than a little creepy; as though Soderbergh were drawing us, a step at a time, into a warm pool where intimate secrets flowed back and forth as simply as currents of water. [4 Aug 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  91. The Square bears witness to history in an articulate, thoughtful and intensely dramatic way.
  92. It's a domestic horror story that literally gets to us where we live, a disturbing tale told with uncompromising emotionality and great skill by filmmaker Lynne Ramsay.
  93. More elaborate than the original, but just as shrewdly put together, it cleverly combines the most successful elements of its predecessor with a number of new twists (would you believe a kinder, gentler Terminator?) to produce on e hell of a wild ride, a Twilight of the Gods that takes no prisoners and leaves audiences desperate for mercy. [3 July 1991, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  94. Midnight Special announces the arrival of a filmmaker in total control of his technique as well as our emotions. A bravura science-fiction thriller that explores emotional areas like parenthood and the nature of belief, it's a riveting genre exercise as well as something more.
  95. The fingerprints of the Camorra are everywhere, this film wants us to know, and its grip is lethal.
  96. Gravity is out of this world. Words can do little to convey the visual astonishment this space opera creates. It is a film whose impact must be experienced in 3-D on a theatrical screen to be fully understood.
  97. It's as engaging, as modest, as utterly American and as thrilling as the true-life story it's based on. [11 Dec 1986, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  98. This is a nearly flawless little film, a cheerful nightmare that knows just where it wants to go and uses precisely calibrated comic effects to get there.

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