Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 10,781 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 Poetry
Lowest review score: 0 Awakened
Score distribution:
10781 movie reviews
  1. Though it's not that gracefully told and sometimes seems to exist just to plug eco-friendly cleaning supplies, A Green Story holds interest as a gentle, old-fashioned look at achieving the American dream.
  2. The film's scary moments are too monstrous and its happy times have too much idiotic beaming, making the film feel like the illegitimate offspring of "Alien" and "The Absent-Minded Professor."
  3. Its humor is broad, but most of the jokes work for the intended audience — with a few even breaking through to more resistant viewers.
  4. The Phenom may be choppy, but it’s saying something sincere about how the pressure to be thought of as a winner can be an athlete’s most formidable opponent.
  5. Once We Are Still Here unsticks itself from hommage mode, it finds something cathartically funny inside the fearsome.
  6. Brosnan and Neeson make fine adversaries mining the terse dialogue for veiled dramatic fervor.
  7. For much of its fast-paced running time, the film, which involves an after-school fight between two polar-opposite teachers, is just amusing enough to make up for its sheer preposterousness.
  8. Though it has loftier aims, it is in reality strictly a film made by believers for believers. It's like the Discovery Channel version of the Greatest Story Ever Told, an earnest, not particularly distinguished piece of work that has none of the touch of the poet that made Pasolini's "The Gospel According to St. Matthew" such a triumph.
  9. Baskin won't be for everybody, but it's well made and imaginatively upsetting.
  10. Sonnenfeld does somewhat better with Addams Family Values than he did with Addams Family. But he still gooses the film with hyperactive slapstick whenever things get talky; he doesn't trust the performers enough, or the material, which seems designed for a less frenetic approach.
  11. It's tempting to call Elles some kind of thinking-person's sex movie, but it's more about thinking and about sex (and thinking about sex) and is far more likely to encourage awkward, emphatic conversation than post-show friskiness.
  12. A hodgepodge of styles, True Legend works best as a freewheeling showcase for Yuen's dazzling fight sequences above any sort of cogent storytelling.
  13. The interviews are carefully augmented with speeches by President Bush and other administration officials, plus footage from Iraq and Afghanistan, and powerful graphics detailing the depletion of the global oil supply.
  14. The film reveals frustratingly little about the sisters themselves.
  15. A lovely performance by Ethiopian supermodel-actress Liya Kebede as supermodel-activist Waris Dirie works wonders to elevate this uneven, occasionally awkward but often absorbing film.
  16. If this low-budget indie is any indication, the younger Levinson's creative sensibilities appear to be darker than his dad's, the voice clearly his own.
  17. Flaked with offbeat witticisms, cheese ball effects and fanboy splatter gore, the surreal John Dies at the End has the vibe of a shaggy dog story, which works both for and against it.
  18. A gentle film yet develops increasing dramatic tension beneath its easygoing, fair-minded surface.
  19. They Will Have to Kill Us First doesn't offer much of a primer on Mali's political or cultural histories — which is the movie's biggest weakness. But Schwartz did capture some remarkable footage of musicians who've spent the last few years taking tentative steps to reclaim what makes their nation special.
  20. The Bjorn Borg of romantic comedies: precise, good-looking, dependable and serviceable, if predictable. It never really heats up, which is too bad.
  21. A tender love story and a dead-on lampoon of the genre, but its main drawback is that Showalter is egregiously miscast in the title role.
  22. For all its sophomoric humor and prim prurience, in the end 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy finds it is love, not sex, that rules the human heart, a sweet and conventional idea regardless of the technology of the film's projection.
  23. Chan defies time and gravity with remarkable energy, ease and resourcefulness, not to mention charm and humor. He even gets away with a nude scene, not bad for man who turns 50 in April.
  24. Despite its good intentions, Spirit is more self-conscious and uninspiring from a dramatic point of view than one might have wished. Still, whenever it threatens to get bogged down in earnest dramaturgy, a stirring visual sequence -- rouses us.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Director Kang Woo-Suk spins an epic swirl of masculine psychodrama over his many punishing fight sequences...But he also makes a handful of sage points about desperate times, the cycle of bullying and our modern culture of ratings-sanctioned aggression.
  25. As clunky as the movie can feel, there’s a winning toughness to its unsentimental view of childhood and its nostalgia for a pre-digital age.
  26. Though there is heroism as well as love here, because it involves the deaths of people we have come to care about, Everest is finally a sad story, though not always a dramatically involving one.
  27. Actress Kristy Swanson provides the ideal combination of energy and comic disdain that characterize a most unlikely savior. While it would be a mistake to oversell Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the sad and/or happy truth is that you could do worse on a warm summer night. A lot worse. [31 Jul 1992, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  28. What follows is graphic, but it's too cerebral and too challenging to be dismissed as pornography.
  29. Writer-director Xu Haofeng’s movie doesn’t feel like many other movies of its ilk. That’s mostly a good thing, even if the movie can’t quite fit all its eccentric pieces into a satisfying whole.
  30. Alternately silly and provocative, strained and funny.
  31. Though Torn contains its share of convincingly lived-in moments, there's a heavy-handed quality to both Jeremiah Birnbaum's direction and the script by Michael Richter that often undermines the movie's potential to truly grip and move.
  32. There's a heft to the proceedings that keeps us invested even when the story's various strands start to unravel.
  33. While Hamm and Bateman have the right idea overall, their love of contrivance too often gives The Journey the sense of being reverse-engineered to explain a breakthrough rather than driven by the messy, human possibilities of their what-if.
  34. Sjöberg is so enamored with the dancing and overall positivity that moves and platitudes fairly dominate, when the movie could have used more narrative cohesion and engagement with his subjects.
  35. The Occasionally Amazing Spider-Man 2 might be a better way to think of the not-always-spectacular but sometimes satisfying Spider-Man sequel.
  36. In this sentimental feel-good saga of an ultra-wealthy quadriplegic and the petty criminal who becomes his caretaker, the chemistry between the two lead actors goes a considerable way toward elevating the broad-strokes culture clash. That's crucial to a film that is, in essence, a love story.
  37. The film works better as social satire than straight horror, as the murder plot that drives it along always feels unconvincing.
  38. In the end, even in the howling high frequencies and the nihilistic night, this R-rated movie misses its best shot. It doesn't talk hard enough. [22 Aug 1990, p.5]
    • Los Angeles Times
  39. Feels out of shape and self-satisfied, as if it knew it didn't have to try very hard.
  40. Director Bradley King and his co-writer, B.P. Cooper, manage to overcome their shoddy premise as the plot progresses assuredly and persuasively.
  41. Belle is greatly buoyed by Mbatha-Raw's performance. She infuses Dido with a confident and intelligent grace that keeps you engaged long after the tangled story has let both the actress and audience down.
  42. Despite all-around wonderful performances and excellent dialogue, the story never quite coheres narratively. Instead it moves toward a hopelessly bleak -- and I mean bleak -- climax that's more traumatic than dramatic.
  43. Wilson asks, can a male middle-aged crank get a sentimental education? If you even care whether that’s possible, Craig Johnson’s film adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ 2010 graphic novel offers a reasonably amusing case study in how that might transpire.
  44. It’s almost as though Combs knows his public image remains fuzzy, caught among such labels as “mogul,” “criminal,” “sellout,” and “under-appreciated genius.” Consider this movie a purposeful step toward cementing a legacy.
  45. Despite the pedestrian screenplay (by Jimenez and Audrey Diwan), Dujardin and Lellouche are magnetic performers who slip easily into their antagonistic roles.
  46. Hostel II is far too shrewd and savagely witty to be caught engaging in higher seriousness. Roth could probably go even further with this particular franchise if he wanted to. Yet somehow, I think he's meant for grander, subtler and more intricate distractions than this.
  47. What's on screen is too honest and from the heart to totally dismiss but too slick and contrived to completely embrace. This is a film that cares about genuine emotion but also wants to tame it, to tidy it up and keep it confined to quarters.
  48. The Underneath doesn't add up. Made with polish and assurance, capably acted and intricately constructed, its overall impact is less than these parts would indicate. It is good but, against all logic, it is not good enough.
  49. Warriors is a bruising, relentless experience, one more tiring than inspiring.
  50. This superman approach to character doesn't jibe with David's crisis of conscience. His smothering of his Jewish identity may make dramatic sense, but, the way it's enacted, it doesn't make much psychological sense. As Fraser plays him, David has such a robust sense of identity that his covertness isn't really believable. We keep hoping the film will turn into a movie about a kid who declared his Jewishness and fought the consequences.
  51. Though its focus is the two years the Sharps spent in Europe, it rushes through elements of their lives that would seem to warrant more examination
  52. A solid, often engrossing film that doesn't engage us overall the way Denzel Washington's work does.
  53. Story line and characterization are decidedly old-fashioned, and a curious decision about production design gives this wide-screen cartoon some of the look and feel of a Saturday morning TV cartoon series
  54. The sequel is a little like a bear hug from a beloved old relative — the embrace is too tight, the perfume is too strong, but ultimately it still leaves you feeling good inside.
  55. Landis has acknowledged mental issues in interviews, and it registers so much more on film. The constant scrutiny of a camera seems exploitative and cruel, even if you are at all suspicious when he rationalizes his behavior as childlike mischief.
  56. Dark Star might have been more fascinating had Sallin delved deeper into his place as an artist.
  57. It's not your typical animated fare, but since the filmmakers can't quite decide whether its tale should be serious or silly, "Cat" trips and stumbles unsteadily between a bit of both.
  58. The age-old search for the fountain of youth is engagingly appraised in The Immortalists, a lively documentary focusing on a pair of very different biomedical scientists who are equally obsessed with eradicating the ravages of time.
  59. Genial and entertaining if not notably inspired. But its most interesting aspect turns out to be fantasies of another kind, pipe dreams about the American political system and where it could theoretically be headed.
  60. There are some blunders on The Road to Guantanamo. The movie front-loads its first-person accounts with a short list of facts to keep in mind as we watch, creating an imbalance that serves only to undercut the movie's overall credibility.
  61. Director Timothy Wheeler manages to wrangle for interviews some active and reformed egg offenders along with authorities, conservationists and volunteers. Some are quite the characters, indeed.
  62. The picture is never less than pleasant -- but it's not more than that often enough.
  63. A heart-tugging comedy-adventure that's in the spirit of the holiday season.
  64. A one-trick pony, a movie that has a gift only for making audiences squirm.
  65. The pace of the direction and-especially-of the screenplay by playwright-television writer John Kostmayer-begins to crawl, weighing down everything. [06 Apr 1990]
    • Los Angeles Times
  66. "Jane's" affecting emotional core and cathartic conclusion carry the day.
  67. While the storytelling, by Abbess and co-writer Brian Cachia, might lack novelty and, occasionally, coherence, visually the film consistently impresses with creative art direction and costume choices.
  68. Paper Clips arrives with an authentically persuasive message of hope.
  69. The film's greatest asset and strongest selling point is the former senator from South Dakota himself, thoughtful and articulate at age 83, who talks candidly, even eloquently, about his political career.
  70. Unfortunately, there’s not enough story here to warrant the film’s more than two-hour running time; 90 taut minutes tracking a week in the ruined tunnel would have sufficed. Still, it’s a vivid and relatable tale.
  71. The relentlessness of corporate might is disturbing but no surprise; "Big Boys" is, however, an eye-opening look at the way the U.S. media fell lockstep behind Dole's claims.
  72. Director Maria Sole Tognazzi gently explores what it means to be unmarried, middle-aged and female. She illuminates a seldom-seen line of work, bathes her flawed characters in affection, and makes points both obvious and astute, soft-pedaling her insights with celebratory travelogue touches.
  73. The movie itself is a live-action cartoon, a fast-moving and cheerfully simplistic 88 minutes of exaggerated action put together with the preteen boy in mind.
  74. I Saw the Light is solid but not spectacular, a retelling of a sad story that never catches fire.
  75. Diverting but rarely transporting, unpredictable yet strangely overdetermined, Garrone's film never conjures the sustained, enveloping magic promised by its extravagant design and its agreeably unhinged story sense.
  76. This one-of-a kind charmer casts an immediate and delightful spell.
  77. Has the sweep of a classic John Ford movie, the sentiment of Frank Capra and a spirited steed named Joey who will steal your heart. The film itself is more difficult to love.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The giddy near-brilliance of its central conceit is squandered by flat execution.
  78. The movie elicits knowing smiles more than laughs, even as it reveals a boundless observational awareness about the beefs and slights that, for the small-minded, must feel like everyday Armageddons.
  79. While all the naturalistic overtones might suggest faith-based Terrence Malick, those committed performances keep the film involving, however recognizably those echoes might resonate.
  80. An amusing if slight excursion into nature with a group of animals who turn the tables on their collective nemeses, the hunters.
  81. Director Henry Chan, working off a script by Megi Hsu (based on a story by producer Weiko Lin), lets things get overly broad at times but otherwise wrings genial humor and gentle emotion from the familiar setup.
  82. The film is a moody and lyrical contemplation of grief and the connections that can be found within the void of loss.
  83. Taking those Hail Mary passes to heart, Woodlawn is a heavily Christian sports drama that almost goes the distance despite adhering closely to the inspirational movie playbook.
  84. The dialogue remains spotty and sappy, the effects still haven't caught up to modern-day standards, but "Twilight's" popularity is such that even when it falls short, it doesn't seem to matter.
  85. Boasting a higher body count than its IQ, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is violent, idiotic fun.
  86. The writer-director appears to be straining for his effects. Some sequences, especially one involving bondage harnesses and homosexual rape, have the uncomfortable feeling of creative desperation, of someone who's afraid of losing his reputation scrambling for any way to offend sensibilities. [14 Oct 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  87. Mulan has its accomplishments, but unlike the best of Disney's output, it comes off as more manufactured than magical.
  88. Gout undermines his own spiky, ambitious narrative with all the visual interference, as dazzling as it often is.
  89. Even at its most serious and sophisticated, it retains the pleasingly funky aroma of pulp.
  90. The plot of Solace is ultimately too generic — and too silly — to take seriously, which is probably why the film’s taken so long to come out. But it has style, and throwback appeal.
  91. There’s a clumsy, soapy tepidness to the procession of plot points, but within individual scenes, the actors pierce the genteel surface.
  92. Parigi -- who's clearly made a close study of Alfred Hitchcock's obsessions and has watched a fair share of intelligent horror perched between cheekiness and Grand Guignol (think "Re-Animator") -- succeeds nicely.
  93. Though Overnight seems to be cautioning us about the excesses of filmmaker ego, it isn't always consistent.
  94. Although amusing and filled with many well-timed comic bits, especially by the deft Moretti, the movie loses some of its farcical steam en route and suffers from a diffused point of view.
  95. As to truly exploring the phenomenon of a live-tweeted collective fiction, the documentary makes a couple of intriguing observations but doesn't look far beyond the metrics, content to exult in the wow factor of it all, which admittedly is considerable.
  96. Are You Here proves a gently immersive, ingratiating, often witty character comedy with a pair of comfortably effective lead performances.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Unlike Gore's movie, which focused largely on what Americans had done to cause the problem and what they could do to fix it, The Great Warming treats global warming as a global issue.
  97. "Inspired by" is an interesting phrase because the movie is more inspiring than inspired. The man's struggles are emotionally engaging, but dramatically it lacks the layering of a "Kramer vs. Kramer," which it superficially resembles.

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