Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,005 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 0.2 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 Lethal Weapon 4
Score distribution:
8,005 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
    • 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. Creates magic of a completely different sort. It makes the unlikeliest subject unforgettable, finding drama, beauty, even poetry in simple things and simple lives.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. [Filho's] mastery of pacing, theme and stylistic eccentricity throughout Neighboring Sounds is so assured as to be breathtaking. Don't miss it.
  9. Those who see it will, quite frankly, not believe their luck. It is that satisfying, that engrossing, that good.
  10. Powerful, profound and beautifully rendered.
  11. 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.
  12. A superlative work, offering a rich emotional experience that at the same time calls attention to the seemingly endless suffering of the Afghan people.
  13. Mud
    One of the most creatively rich and emotionally rewarding movies to come along this year.
  14. A convulsively funny affair.[15 July 1988, Calendar, p. 6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. Intense, hypnotic, assured, Croupier mesmerizes from its opening image of a roulette ball on the move.
    • Los Angeles Times
  18. An astonishing technological feat, but what is even more remarkable is that the technology does not overwhelm the artistry.
  19. Never one to shy away from challenges, Morris has come up with one of the best documentaries of this or any year.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. The piercingly realistic Captain Phillips will exceed your expectations.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. A perfect storm of a motion picture, with an icy, immaculate director unexpectedly taking on deeply emotional subject matter.
  27. 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.
  28. Incisive yet supple, wrenching yet deeply pleasurable, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada easily ranks among the year's best pictures.
  29. 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.
  30. A whole world can be fit into 76 minutes, and that's what the splendid documentary OT: our town manages to do.
  31. 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.
  32. To see The Wind Rises is to simultaneously marvel at the work of a master and regret that this film is likely his last.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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
  37. The Square bears witness to history in an articulate, thoughtful and intensely dramatic way.
  38. 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.
  39. 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
  40. The fingerprints of the Camorra are everywhere, this film wants us to know, and its grip is lethal.
  41. 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.
  42. 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
  43. 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.
  44. Achieves its success through a combination of attitude and technique, uniting, to exceptional effect, a way of viewing the world morally while looking at it physically.
  45. Potent, persuasive and hypnotic, The Dark Knight Rises has us at its mercy. A disturbing experience we live through as much as a film we watch, this dazzling conclusion to director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is more than an exceptional superhero movie, it is masterful filmmaking by any standard.
  46. By the time this irresistible treat is over, it has created some of the funniest moments and most inspired visual humor and design we may expect to experience at the movies all year. [30 Mar 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
  47. Likely as not, these things mean nothing in a conventional plot sense, but as powerful images, as pictures from a dreamlike world, they are unforgettable. And that, David Lynch would probably say, is exactly the point.
  48. Superb.
  49. For Tian, who was banned from directing by Chinese authorities for a decade, it marks a triumphant return; for those who have loved the filmmaker's work in the past, few resurrections have seemed as welcome.
  50. An unforgettable experience from yet another filmmaker who is making South Korean cinema one of the most vibrant of any emerging on the international scene.
  51. Prepare to be astonished by Spirited Away.
  52. Subversive, provocative and unexpected, Exit Through the Gift Shop delights in taking you by surprise, starting quietly but ending up in a hall of mirrors as unsettling as anything Lewis Carroll's Alice ever experienced.
  53. It is one of those scorching films that burns through emotions, uses up actors, wrings out audiences. And the jazz, well, it has its own moments of brutal, breathtaking fusion.
  54. The most brilliantly disturbing film ever to have its roots in small-town American life. [19 September 1986, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  55. It's intelligent, provocative and intensely dramatic. Its subject matter may be tough but it is as powerfully authentic as anyone could want.
  56. An exceptional--and exceptionally disturbing--film from a first-time director and writer (with Andy Bienen) named Kimberly Pierce. Unflinching, uncompromising, made with complete conviction and rare skill.
  57. The profoundly sensitive, often wryly funny look at friendship, romance, sexual attraction and gender identity carries themes and dynamics that feel as timeless as they do up-to-the-minute.
  58. Harrowing and unflinching, a savage nightmare so consuming and claustrophobic you will want to leave but fear to go, City of Life and Death is a cinematic experience unlike any you've had before. It's a film strong enough to change your life, if you can bear to watch it at all.
  59. When on-the-ground reality is conveyed with the complexity and fascination it is here, unforgettable documentaries are always the result.
  60. A wonderful treasure from the seemingly inexhaustible cornucopia of crackling French crime dramas.
  61. The Belgian directing brothers deal with themes they have made their own: the difficulty of being moral in an amoral world and the grinding, unforgiving nature of reality for those forced by poverty to live on the margins of society. These are not easy films to experience, but they are uncompromising and unforgettable.
  62. See it and it'll stay with you as your own memories do: funny, poignant, bittersweet and irreplaceable.
  63. From Up on Poppy Hill is frankly stunning, as beautiful a hand-drawn animated feature as you are likely to see. It's a time-machine dream of a not-so-distant past, a sweet and honestly sentimental story that also represents a collaboration between the greatest of Japanese animators and his up-and-coming son.
  64. One of the bloodiest and most beautiful reflections on atonement in the Scorsese canon... It is still one of cinema's most breathtaking films.
    • Los Angeles Times
  65. One of the great crime thrillers, the benchmark all succeeding heist films have been measured against, it's no musty museum piece but a driving, compelling piece of work, redolent of the air of human frailty and fatalistic doom.
  66. Its step-by-step tragedy is so ruthless in its unfolding, you may find yourself wishing it were less well done, that it left you some room to breathe. But House of Sand and Fog has a story to tell and it means to tell it, no matter what the cost.
  67. The script, by Oleg Negin and Zvyagintsev, uses spare dialogue to quietly devastating effect. Performances are superb across the board, framed in elegant widescreen compositions that simmer with violence.
  68. There's barely any on-field footage in The Damned United. What we get instead is fine acting and directing, splendid dialogue and a story too outrageous to be made up.
  69. Cookie's Fortune, which knows how to treat serious matters with humor, is to be treasured as an utterly distinctive work by one of America's finest filmmakers. [2 April 1999, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  70. An impeccably acted character drama revolving around a mother and her teenage twin sons, Private Property shows how strong and how terrifying the bonds within families can be. Directed by Belgium's Joachim Lafosse, it etches the line between love and hate with a savagery that is almost unprecedented.
  71. The powerfully disturbing Red Riding trilogy will haunt you waking and sleeping, night and day. If you survive the watching of it, that is, which is no easy thing.
  72. With this masterful, flawless film, Xiaoshuai emerges in the front ranks of China's now numerous, world-renowned filmmakers.
  73. Perhaps the most original movie fantasy creation of the year: an icon of tenderness and artistic alienation that clings, stickum-like, to your mind's eye and the softest, most woundable parts of your mass-culture heart. [7 Dec 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  74. Diamond-hard and mesmerizing… Bening and Cusack are perfection at what they are doing, she twinkly as any rhinestone, he dangerously passive; it's hardly their fault that Huston is the motor of the piece and so ferociously seductive that one cannot look away from her. [5 Dec 1990]
    • Los Angeles Times
  75. Beautifully crafted, movingly acted, still involving and entertaining, this is just the kind of film people are talking about when they say they don't make them like this anymore.
  76. What is different about Half Nelson is the execution, the kind of subtlety in writing, directing and acting (by costars Shareeka Epps and Anthony Mackie as well as Gosling) you seldom see.
  77. While the bleak, funny, exquisitely made Inside Llewyn Davis echoes familiar themes and narrative journeys, it also goes its own way and becomes a singular experience, one of their best films.
  78. Charged by a passion for life, A Home at the End of the World is a major achievement.
  79. For all of the eccentricities that come in any telling of an artist's life, Cutie and the Boxer's real magic is in so beautifully telling a familiar story of husbands and wives.
  80. Glaciers might be melting, the polar caps might be crumbling, but not even the passage of half a century has taken the frozen edge off this brilliantly icy film.
  81. An invigorating powerhouse of a personal documentary, adventurous and absolutely fascinating.
  82. It's been brought to the screen by director John Schlesinger and writer Malcolm Bradbury with such deftness, giving it a life of its own, that it's not necessary for audiences to be familiar with the literature it satirizes.
  83. This is no sappy portrait of a saint: Mino is tenacious, critical and defensive, and in one memorable scene, a colleague tries to get her to face reality about what the real world holds for their students after graduation.
  84. Letters From Iwo Jima, takes audiences to a place that would seem unimaginable for an American director. Daring and significant, it presents a picture from life's other side, not only showing what wartime was like for our Japanese adversaries on that island in the Pacific but also actually telling the story in their language. Which turns out to be no small thing.
  85. A brilliant, often grotesquely bizarre allegory on life in Hungary from World War II to the present.
  86. It humanely, intelligently questions the very nature of our desire to make sense of the past with the tools of the present, when the human mind remains the most aggressively obliterating battlefield of all.
  87. To borrow a marketing phrase from another, very different film, A Prophet really is the movie that reminds you why you love the movies. Especially movies like this one.
  88. May be the best "new" American movie released this year. [11 Sept 1992]
    • Los Angeles Times
  89. The director's surrealist portrait of modern times and the cult of celebrity is brilliant on so many levels that even the occasional downdraft can't keep Birdman from soaring.
  90. A splendid film. It uses all the resources of cinema -- masterful writing, superb acting, directorial intelligence, an enveloping score, top-of-the-line production design, costumes, cinematography and editing -- to make a film whose cumulative emotional power takes viewers by surprise, capturing us unawares in its ability to move us as deeply as it does.
  91. House of Flying Daggers finds the great Chinese director at his most romantic in this thrilling martial arts epic that involves a conflict between love and duty carried out to its fullest expression.
  92. Heli is a stunning piece of filmmaking. It's a hypnotic, starkly beautiful, often disturbing drama that puts a working-class Mexican family in the cross hairs of its country's drug war.
  93. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a marvel of Japanese animation, a hand-drawn, painterly epic that submerges us in a world of beauty.
  94. Just as Turner's expressive, enthralling work changed the nature of painting, Mr. Turner, anchored in the rock of Timothy Spall's astonishing, Cannes prize-winning performance, pushes hard against the strictures of conventional narrative and ends up pulling us into its world and capturing us completely.
  95. Tense, smartly crafted and highly resonant, Aliyah is one of the best films so far this year.
  96. Witty, urbane and thoroughly entertaining.
  97. As the summer heats up, let Frozen River wash over you; let its bracing drama and the intensity of its acting restore your spirits as well as your faith in American independent film.
  98. A string of unlikely events and coincidences set off Night Falls, and Lumet makes them believable the old-fashioned way: through interaction with a screen full of strongly drawn, fully dimensioned, psychologically valid characters.
  99. The writer-director's familiar style blends with a group of unexpected factors to create a magnificently cockeyed entertainment.

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