Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,560 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 58% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Cookie's Fortune
Lowest review score: 0 Miss March
Score distribution:
8,560 movie reviews
  1. Throughout 1911 the sense of dutiful intentions blocks any building momentum. When an English-speaking character appears to declare that history is being made, it only underlines the obvious.
  2. The appealing Doleac, who also produced, acquits himself as an actor. But as a director, he shows a wobbly visual sense and an uneven hand with his cast.
  3. Here are casual cruelty, crushing heartbreak and pressure from parents and peers, all of which can involve the viewer but are nothing revelatory.
  4. The movie version of karaoke. It sings the same tune as the 2007 British underground hit, but it's a little, and at times a lot, off-key.
  5. Though the movie is not without thoughtful observations on gender roles and the effects of war, Hart's characters tend to speak in poetic truths that call attention to their authorial polish. The cast breathes what life it can into the proceedings, with Otaru particularly impressive.
  6. In bringing Heller's book to the screen, director Richard Eyre ("Iris," "Stage Beauty") and screenwriter Patrick Marber ("Closer") have tossed the book's subtlety out the window, along with its psychological complexity, its running theme of self-deception and its dark, extra-wry sense of humor.
  7. The movie has a few bursts of energy and invention — a cleverly executed jailbreak is one. But the story drifts and the pacing drags, failing to gather much steam until the final moments.
  8. DamNation is certainly a picturesque splash of doc advocacy, as long as you don't dwell on the cracks.
  9. There are moments when it is possible, with effort, to forget the plot and its tired premise and enjoy Witherspoon and Ruffalo's chemistry and imagine they are in another movie. But never for long.
  10. Rourke and Wolff certainly have chemistry, and Sarah Silverman (as Ed's concerned single mom) and Emma Roberts (as Ed's potential girlfriend) provide solid support on the edges. But the humor never feels aimed in any particular direction.
  11. The film constantly teeters on the fulcrum of its own treacly good intentions and simplistic parable-like storytelling, and the extent that it stays balanced is largely thanks to its agile cast.
  12. The overall sense is of a rushed, simplistic installment in a well-worn biography franchise.
  13. The 20 or so minutes we spend with the Albatross in the squall is high adventure, to be sure. Everything else is ballast.
  14. Regrettably, the subtitles fail to capture Sul and Moon's witty wordplay — but their snappy, prickly chemistry is obvious to all.
  15. The man was not, by most accounts, pedestrian. In trying to follow so closely in his footsteps, the film, however, is.
  16. The movie loses some of its initial atmospheric tension as paranoid thrills give way to Rambo high jinks.
  17. Even though all the supporting elements of a superior film are here, the actual plot that everything is at the service of is disappointing. The texture of reality and the sheen of fine craft disguise this for a while, but not forever.
  18. Starts out as such a deliciously savage satire of TV kiddie shows that it's a shame it swerves out of control and over the top, sliding into tedium before pulling together for a clever, if protracted, finish.
  19. For all its surface verisimilitude and for all its focus on a problem that couldn't be more current, this film can't manage to feel more than sporadically real.
  20. Adventures of Power just may teach the world that, as hard as it is to catch the wind, it's harder still to drum the air.
  21. Surprisingly free of gore, unlike its predecessors.
  22. Beautiful Girls follows the boys as they work their way through these crises, and it's about as much fun as a neighborhood bar on a Tuesday night. Its crisis: not much happening.
  23. A compelling monotony, but one that's never quite pleasure, never quite pain and, therefore, never quite an experience.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    If Biraben had devoted more energy to the human contours of his story, its metaphorical implications would have sorted themselves out. Instead, he herds his characters toward a foregone conclusion, reducing both their scope and his story's power.
  24. Despite its gorgeous soundtrack, historical sweep and wealth of archival material, (the film) is weakened by sluggish pacing and an overly detailed, increasingly narrow focus.
  25. This is pretty unremarkable stuff that has little to excite outside of its nicely done twirl-and-dip sections, choreographed here by West Coast swing dancing guru Robert Royston.
  26. Perched uncomfortably between flat whimsy and Lifetime movie crescendos, the coming-of-middle-age comic drama The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is rough going.
  27. [Barthes'] measured, distanced style brings a certain stiffness to the proceedings and makes us miss even more than usual the Emma Bovary interior monologue that makes the book so memorable.
  28. Neither funny enough to be a comedy nor serious enough to pass for drama, and it ambles along aimlessly before grinding to an unconvincing halt.
  29. It's a pleasure to watch Lane's delicately lived-in face tremble with feeling -- it's the truest thing in the movie -- but the character's desperation feels wrong, the worst kind of sellout.
  30. Lacks freshness and vitality.
  31. Oliver's instant switch from bespectacled nerd to Thai-stick smoking, love-struck tourist is more embarrassing than convincing, as is the film's reliance on literally elephant-heavy symbolism.
  32. Films can't just sound good on paper; they have to be effective on the screen, and in that form, The Statement is disappointing.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A mash-up of indie-film tropes.
  33. Unsteadily pitched between horror and comedy, Secret Window turns out to be neither terribly scary nor especially funny.
  34. As sequels go, this one is acceptable, nothing more, nothing less.
  35. Whatever personal risks first-time director Hossein Keshavarz took to make the film, there's little sense of danger in the finished product, which offers snapshots of middle-class Iran but falls flat on the dramatic front.
  36. There is a moment in The Tourist when Johnny Depp turns to Angelina Jolie and asks "Why is all this happening?" It's a question moviegoers will be asking themselves as well.
  37. Boy
    Writer-director and co-star Taika Waititi ("Eagle vs Shark") never builds much momentum for his largely uneventful if sometimes inventive story.
  38. While its ambition and scope pull one way, its pinched and unconvincing sense of drama pull the other.
  39. Muddled tale of faith and reason.
  40. All these intriguing good intentions, however, have largely gone for naught because of a variety of missteps, starting with an increasing implausible plot as well as the fact that Ledger's Harry looks about as likely to pass for an Arab as the Mahdi is to pass for Queen Victoria.
  41. More surprising is Perry's inability to write back-and-forth dialogue with any real wit or verve. He is at his best when writing speeches, and some of the film's best moments come when Union is given snappy monologues on the state of contemporary relationships and African American maleness.
  42. Stone covers territory all too familiar to most Americans old enough to remember the JFK assassination.
  43. Rock can't set up a decent-looking shot, and he doesn't care about niceties such as character development and all that narrative downtime in between jokes. But he nonetheless wrings biting humor from serious issues with the sort of ferocity that made Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce men of respect as well as comedy.
  44. If The Core finally has to be classified as a mess, it is an enjoyable one if you're in a throwback mood. After all, a film that comes up with a rare metal called Unobtainium can't be dismissed out of hand.
  45. There are a few surprising flavors in Nina's Heavenly Delights, but it's more of a samosa than a meal. The ceiling is set pretty low when characters start exhorting each other to "follow your heart." Which they do, early and often.
  46. Billy and Buddy manages to maintain the kind of brisk giddiness that many animated films struggle to achieve. But as family fare with a few unsettling Gallic touches, the boy-and-his-dog escapade is an odd fit.
  47. There's no real jeopardy. The stakes are low. It's a bee movie about nothing.
  48. If one is interested in seeing a Cirque du Soleil show, there are many to choose from. "Worlds Away" functions solely as some sort of bargain sampler platter appetizer, never proving it has a real reason of its own to exist.
  49. Numerous good things can be said about Apocalypto, the director's foray into the decaying Mayan civilization of the early 1500s, but every last one of them is overshadowed by Gibson's well-established penchant for depictions of stupendous amounts of violence.
  50. With its flat punch lines, formulaic action and undercooked mélange of messages — touching on everything from factory farming to genocide — the film waddles awkwardly.
  51. The provocative noir experience that Talaash promises, with its jazzily scored, moodily lighted opening montage of a Mumbai red-light district at night, is nowhere to be found once this meandering mystery begins.
  52. Ultimately, Journey to the Center of the Earth's minor-league visual pleasures will be most enjoyed by those with the smallest number of celluloid reference points, preferably those who have started going to the movies after "Jurassic Park" or, better yet, the Harry Potter films.
  53. New players, a new story line, a new director and nearly three decades of improved technology including all the whiz-bang-wow the latest 3-D has to offer. Unfortunately, there's not nearly enough new life.
  54. The giddy laughs that ensue, though sometimes inspired, are too few and far between.
  55. A challenge to eco-orthodoxy, Pandora's Promise subscribes to its own dogma. The lack of opposing voices diminishes the film, even as Stone raises issues that shouldn't be discounted out of hand.
  56. With Manhunter, there seems to be some danger that style has overrun content, leaving behind a vast, chic, well-cast wasteland. [15 Aug 1986]
    • Los Angeles Times
  57. The day-to-day realities, especially economic, of Sonny and Jewel's lives could have been more fully detailed to good effect, and Cage might have also have risked setting off the tenderness of his storytelling with an edgier style. Even so, few films take the viewer by surprise with such emotional impact as Sonny.
  58. There is no shaking the feeling that Branagh and his cast are a kind of an espionage film B team, capable of mild diversion but nothing more.
  59. Despite the tired premise, Kenan Thompson -- is actually very persuasive as Fat Albert.
  60. The film might have worked as a taut, topical corporate intrigue thriller; instead, for all its ambition, it's just a routine mystery, despite a solid performance by Christian Slater.
  61. This is not a chance to "experience the most timeless of stories as you've never seen it before" but just the opposite: an opportunity, for those who want it, to encounter this story exactly the way it's almost always been told.
  62. The film has only the sheer charm of its cast to get it by, and it says a lot about the actors that they nearly pull it off.
  63. That sense of extreme, excess, over-the-top everything is there from start to finish. And isn't that what Bay fans count on even at cut-rate prices?
  64. The force of the film is not as profound as Shakhnazarov clearly intended, and The Rider Named Death is easier to respect than enjoy.
  65. Works up a decent amount of solid, creep-show atmosphere in its first act before making some absurd decisions of its own in its second.
  66. Whatever the reason, his riff on Le Divorce follows the original only in broad strokes, hewing to a similar plot with many of the same characters but without the wit, the barbs and the politics.
  67. The otherwise congenial film plays itself to a draw because of flat characters and a script that overdoes the melodrama in the service of checking off a series of genre tropes borrowed from sports movies.
  68. Although it starts off vaguely amusing, 8 Women grows progressively sour, curdled by the filmmakers' bad faith and lack of compassion. It isn't just the tone that's off; it's the point.
  69. The super-hip style is groovy but doesn't mask the fact that Son of Rambow doesn't really go anywhere special or say anything much. For a film about falling in love with the movies, its insights on them are next to nil.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Misses opportunities to add much substance to the debate over immigration reform. Instead, it strings together the views of a few law enforcement officials, legal experts, agriculture industry representatives, politicians, one "coyote," or human smuggler, and others hailing from the south Texas town of Laredo.
  70. The veteran Marshall has proved a quick study, serving up the pastiche with panache so the stars mostly shine, the story snippets mostly amuse and you'll barely notice all the empty spots where a plot used to be.
  71. Kick-Ass 2 is a lesser version of what it appears to be, an uncertain jumble rather than a true exploration of outrage, violence and identity.
  72. 300
    300 is something to see, but unless you love violence as much as a Spartan, Quentin Tarantino or a video-game-playing teenage boy, you will not be endlessly fascinated.
  73. When it comes to special effects, the filmmakers have spared no expense. But when it comes to the story, audiences have been shortchanged.
  74. What keeps Godspeed from lasting power are its melodramatic swerves and less-than-revelatory acting. But despite its fissures in tone and technique, Godspeed occasionally plays like a sturdy indie outpost of revenge cinema.
  75. With Snow Flower, the filmmaker is forever torn between two childhoods, two adulthoods, two distinct political and social eras, and two complex relationships, unable to make both equally relevant.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Putting a spin on classic fairy tales is nothing new, and unfortunately that's just what the "Shrek"-lite animated feature Happily N'Ever After brings to the big screen.
  76. Only a teenage boy could find this kind of stuff continually diverting, and only a teenage boy would not notice flimsy emotions and underdeveloped acting. It seems George Lucas, like Peter Pan, has never really grown up.
  77. Get Smart neglects the laughs and amps up the action, resulting in a not very funny comedy joined at the hip to a not very exciting spy movie. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
  78. If, as someone says in one of Brooks' trademark excellent lines, we all feel we're "one small adjustment away from making our lives work," this film is one small adjustment away as well.
  79. Although the performances are uniformly on point and the dialogue is tartly British, the film ultimately fails to earn its riotous stripes.
  80. This portrait of strong, independent women grappling with change in their individual lives holds initial allure, but the effect proves ephemeral.
  81. Josh Goldin, a longtime screenwriter whose credits include "Darkman" and "Out on a Limb" -- and whose wife is a writer at the L.A. Times -- makes his debut as a writer-director with Wonderful World. The results of Goldin's dual efforts are promising but uneven.
  82. A Case of You is perfectly enjoyable as far as indie rom coms go — just not particularly original.
  83. A poignant, ambitious romantic comedy that overreaches its premise with a hopelessly convoluted denouement; it plays like a last-minute attempt to pad out Tori Spelling's part to justify her star billing.
  84. Despite being structured in an intriguing way -- bits of confusing action are shown first and explained later -- The International never finds its footing.
  85. Leigh piles up woe wider and higher than ever before. That he has done so with his usual skill, perception and alertness to relieving gestures of human tenderness and care does not keep All or Nothing from being a pretty glum, overly familiar business.
  86. The difficulty is that Brassed Off operates at an emotional pitch that starts at a crescendo and never relents--rendering almost everything equally inconsequential.
  87. For all his attention to the exactitude of creating righteous cocktails, Tirola never quite nails a specific structure, focus or theme.
  88. As (DiCaprio's) character heads for The Beach's predictable heart of darkness denouement, only die-hard fans will have the heart to tag along.
  89. Jackson modulates Abel's internal turmoil and heated exchanges with enough shades of loneliness, steely generosity and wicked playfulness to give the actor firm control of our fascination and growing unease.
  90. Brief enough, clocking in at 83 minutes, but its story is too predictable to make an impact even in such a short space. Unlike "Toy Story," the dialogue here, written by Todd Alcott and Chris & Paul Weitz, is pro forma all the way.
  91. Though the film is peppered with one-liners tailor-made for Spacey to sling with stinging effect, it doesn't so much leave you laughing as just weary, and wishing this weren't a true story at all.
  92. The action unwinds with the mechanical artifice of a creaky play, though Nadda creates a few strikingly cinematic moments.
  93. An underwhelming jumble.
  94. Feels like it was written by an oddball artist-temp type with an ax to grind - which, as it happens, it was.
  95. Likely to be best appreciated by dedicated sci-fi fans, admirers of Dick in particular. It hasn't the stupendous razzle-dazzle of a mega-budget picture like "A.I. Artificial Intelligence."
  96. Ross' missive is earnest and well-intentioned, but it's difficult not to feel that his film both runs on too long and overreaches its dramatic resources in its attempt to deliver it.

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