Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,763 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: 62
Highest review score: 100 Hannah and Her Sisters
Lowest review score: 0 21 and Over
Score distribution:
7,763 movie reviews
  1. It's billed as an environmental horror story, but The Last Winter bears all the hallmarks of an ever-popular genre that has always pitted science, technology and reason against emotion, awe and nature. It bears all the hallmarks of the gothic: ghosts, death, alienated sexuality, decay, secrets, madness and, of course, awe and trepidation in the face of the sublime power of nature.
  2. For director Lou Ye, who also co-wrote the script and was a student in Beijing during that crucial year, Summer Palace is the story of his particular lost generation, a story he felt so deeply about he risked his career to tell it. Search out this vivid film in a theater. Don't let the sacrifices he made be in vain.
  3. This is no nostalgia trip taken by an 83-year-old director. It's a fierce, hot slap of a movie, a shameless melodrama with bite.
  4. The creators of this film were fiercely determined not to go so much as a millimeter over the line into sentiment, tawdriness or mockery. It's the rare film that is the best possible version of itself, but "Lars" fits that bill.
  5. Finely made and richly satisfying film.
  6. Simultaneously uplifting and melancholy, suffused with an unexpected sense of possibility as much as the inevitable sense of loss.
  7. 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.
  8. An understated gem. Writer-director Jeff Nichols, making his feature debut, has created a richly textured world.
  9. The camera is so unobtrusive and the acting so naturalistic that it takes a while for a narrative to emerge. When it finally does, you're surprised to find you're deeply invested in the characters.
  10. Shine a Light may not be the last Rolling Stones movie, but it's likely to be the last one with a touch of the poet about it.
  11. Subtly acted, with Aridjis showing remarkable trust in her performers, The Favor is that rare film that at every turn exhibits good taste and a sense of restraint.
  12. 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.
  13. A story about generational expectations and cultural shifts, The Edge of Heaven raises questions it can't answer, which makes it only more powerful.
  14. Raucously funny and surprisingly insightful.
  15. This haunting phantasmagoria of a film -- comic, singular, surreal -- is not only something no one but the Canadian director could have made, it's also a film no one else would have even wanted to make. Which is the heart of its appeal.
  16. The Catherine Breillat-directed period piece is an extreme cinematic pleasure, a well-told yarn of merciless desire.
  17. 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.
  18. While the cast is uniformly superb, Garfield ("Lions for Lambs") deserves special mention for his deep, extraordinarily expressive performance.
  19. An invaluable portrait of us-and-them America, a smart, generous, poignant, quietly disturbing movie about secrecy and hospitality, and how easy it is for a tradition of separateness to flourish when the stakes are as deceptively frivolous as an eye-popping yearly party.
  20. This one-of-a-kind film cycle has become as comfortable and reliable as an old shoe, providing a degree of dependability that's becoming increasingly rare.
  21. 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.
  22. The result is involving, engrossing cinema -- more thrilling, in fact, than Howard's "The Da Vinci Code" -- filmmaking of a type rarely seen anymore and sorely missed.
  23. A quintessentially American story that unmistakably echoes European art house cinema, combining the aesthetic purity of France's Robert Bresson with the social consciousness of Belgium's Dardenne brothers. It also is a powerful, character-driven melodrama that easily holds our attention from first to last.
  24. Best and most unexpected of all, Rachel Getting Married dares to mix the bitter with the sweet. It understands that life-altering situations like weddings not only bring out the worst in human behavior but also the finest.
  25. An exceptional film, at once disturbing and elevating, deliberate yet powerful.
  26. Performances this strong and direction this sensitive make us simply grateful to have an emotional story we can sink our teeth into and enjoy.
  27. An undeniably shattering story, if forgivably shaky in its impassioned, therapeutic unfolding.
  28. Boyle has been nothing if not bold with this film. He's dared to use so many venerable movie elements it's dizzying, dared us to say we won't be moved or involved, dared us to say we're too hip to fall for tricks that are older than we are.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Williams' performance is remarkable not only for its depth but for its stillness.
  29. Perhaps the best thing about Schenk's script is that it enticed Eastwood to end his self-imposed acting hiatus and bring his one-of-a-kind aura back to the screen.
  30. The reality of Fran├žois' classroom is so intense that it holds our interest even while the film's dramatic focus is building so quietly under the surface that we don't notice it at first.
  31. Rather than observing this family, we feel we are part of it, and that draws us in as nothing else can.
  32. A stunning reminder of the omnipresence of mortality.
  33. Most of all, Davies proves himself to be a poet of the commonplace whose art is the exalting of the everyday. He may rail against "the British genius for creating the dismal," but his own work is anything but.
  34. 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.
  35. Practice has delivered something close to perfection as this new film offers a startling experience that takes you down into the Great Barrier Reef without the expense, hypothermia or oxygen tanks.
  36. At its heart, and there is a great heart to be discovered here, Morgan Dews' documentary Must Read After My Death is a searing and intimate account of an unconventional woman struggling not to lose her identity or her sanity in the rigid 1950s suburban world of stay-at-home moms, well-behaved children and sparkling-clean houses.
  37. Bold, acutely observant and universal in its wide-ranging concerns and implications.
  38. It is also hard not to see remnants of a younger Michael Caine -- beautifully seductive and enigmatic all those years ago in "Alfie." He has said his wife cried when she saw the performance; you understand why.
  39. Adventurous, ambitious and ingeniously futuristic, Sleep Dealer is a welcome surprise. It combines visually arresting science fiction done on a budget with a strong sense of social commentary in a way that few films attempt, let alone achieve.
  40. Simultaneously exhilarating and confounding, dazzling and confusing, this is filmmaking of such verve and style that you likely won't care that you can't follow it completely.
  41. 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.
  42. A little like guided meditation with suggestions floated, waiting, left untethered. It's up to you to distill meaning -- which will leave some convinced the director is merely self-indulgent, and others deeply satisfied.
  43. A dark and lovely drama about the complications of human connections that is Michael Keaton's impressive directing debut.
  44. A darkly compelling film from Austria, can be viewed as either a thriller with psychological overtones or a psychological drama with thriller elements.
  45. French films traditionally take France and its eternal appeal for granted. Summer Hours is the rare film that worries about that, worries about the future, and that proves to be invaluable.
  46. Something seldom seen: an original romantic comedy.
  47. Simultaneously an art film and a crime film, Mann's latest work may not give you a ton to hang on to emotionally, but the beauty and skill of the filmmaking keep you tightly in its grasp.
  48. The film manages to be anything but dark; whimsy and sweet irony are laced throughout, a warmhearted blend that turned it into the surprise winner of 2008's Oscar for foreign-language film.
  49. Its privileged glimpse deep into unfamiliar spiritual territory has the strength of revelation.
  50. The Stoning of Soraya M. goes well beyond its angry didacticism and its specific indictment of men's oppression of women to achieve the impact of a Greek tragedy through its masterful grasp of suspense and group psychology, and some superb acting.
  51. A vibrant and joyous new documentary.
  52. First-time feature director Ruben Fleischer brings impeccable timing and bloodthirsty wit to the proceedings. Cinematographer Michael Bonvillain captures some interesting images amid the post-apocalyptic carnival of carnage, as when he transforms the destruction of a souvenir shop into a rough ballet.
  53. Martin Scorsese has created a divinely dark and devious brain tease of a movie in the best noir tradition with its smarter than you'd think cops, their tougher than you'd imagine cases to crack and enough nods to the classic genre for an all-night parlor game.
  54. Nothing quite prepares you for the rough-cut diamond that is Precious. A rare blend of pure entertainment and dark social commentary, this shockingly raw, surprisingly irreverent and absolutely unforgettable story.
  55. In nearly every moment, an incredibly rich mix of their music, groundbreaking, defining, which alone would almost be enough. That It Might Get Loud comes with a righteous story too is a lovely bonus.
  56. Self-discovery always comes with a cost, and in Bliss the price is a great one. It is mesmerizing to watch it unfold in the lives of these two young people.
  57. A pleasantly cerebral experience, exhilarating and fizzy, that goes to your head like too much Champagne.
  58. Starring an ideally cast Patton Oswalt in the title role, Big Fan is a poignant, dead-on character study, an examination of a crisis in the life of the most die-hard of die-hard New York Giants football fans.
  59. An enjoyable celebratory ode to a fiercely entertaining counterculture-inspired genre.
  60. 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.
  61. This film becomes the kind of love note to movies we want and need.
  62. Whether it's Peterson/Bronson's more theatrical bits or his untamable character's many blood-spitting, knuckle-beating, explosions, Hardy chomps down on his once-in-a-career role with stunning ferocity and never lets go. He's extraordinary.
  63. The Maid has that particular gift of leaving you off balance in the best possible way, and whenever something like that comes around you owe it to yourself to check it out.
  64. Terrific archival footage from a range of seminal civil rights events, as well as affecting narration written by Sarah Kunstler and spoken by Emily Kunstler (who also edited the film), round out this superior documentary.
  65. As unusual and idiosyncratic as its one-of-a-kind title. You'd expect no less from Terry Gilliam, and admirers of this singular filmmaker will be pleased to know that "Imaginarium" is one of his most original and accessible works.
  66. It's tempting to forget that Cage is not Terence. That would be unfair though, and diminish the sheer ferocity of his performance.
  67. For those who enjoy actors who can play it up without ever overplaying their hands, The Last Station is the destination of choice.
  68. For the most part, Ford has done good by the film, infusing a sad story with warmth and humor to spare. While loss is what makes George's experience universal, heart is what gives him such life.
  69. On a par with Bridges' acting, and a sine qua non for Crazy Heart's success, is the excellent music he sings.
  70. We don't go to Michael Haneke films for comfort, but to gaze through a glass darkly. That vision -- tense, provocative and unnerving -- is on full display in The White Ribbon, which could be considered a culmination of this difficult director's brilliant career.
  71. The 17-year-old so completely captures the innocence, cynicism and rage of a child of poverty and divorce on the edge of adulthood that it feels as if you are spying on Mia, so achingly real, so tangible does her world seem here.
  72. 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.
  73. This fresh and flawless adaptation of an autobiographical story by Davy Rothbart is a joy to behold. Its people are in their 20s, but what they experience is ageless, timeless and universal.
  74. Teaches important lessons in the most casual, joyful way. How it manages to do that is probably the biggest secret of all.
  75. Deeply fascinating, unexpectedly potent documentary.
  76. A mind-bending and mesmerizing thriller that takes its time unlocking one mystery only to uncover another, all to chilling and immensely satisfying effect.
  77. About a billion laughs (though "Hot Tub" is not for the faint of heart or anyone even slightly concerned with what's happened to common decency these days).
  78. A beautifully calibrated movie in the most traditional sense of the word -- the ideal marriage of topic, talent and tone.
  79. With her new film, the poignant and funny Please Give, Holofcener is at the top of her game.
  80. If it weren't for the masterful work of director Dover Kosashvili, this rich, evocative film wouldn't have nearly the impact it does.
  81. Amuses and unnerves in equal measure. A comedy of discomfort that walks a wonderful line between reality-based emotional honesty and engaging humor, it demonstrates the good things that happen when quirky independent style combines with top-of-the-line acting skill.
  82. Intense, immersive and in control, Winter's Bone has an art house soul inside a B picture body, and that proves to be a potent combination indeed.
  83. A moment had come that had to be seized, which in turn gave birth to the gay rights movement. On June 28, 1970, New York held its first gay parade, and as one of its participants remarks, "Stonewall lives on" in all the gay parades ever since.
  84. What Restrepo does so dramatically, so convincingly, is make the abstract concrete, giving the soldiers on the front lines faces and voices.
  85. Inspired in part by the success of "An Inconvenient Truth," the makers of Countdown to Zero are determined to mobilize public opinion to zero out the world's nuclear arsenal. We all should be rooting for their success, because failure would leave no one left to mourn our mistakes.
  86. What Solondz does so well is create unthinkable moments in a "Leave It to Beaver" world, where unmentionables are aired in the most innocuous ways to startling effect. In Life During Wartime, he's done just that, creating a relationship agitprop that pops and sizzles; just be careful not to get burned.
  87. Though the thriller is in the hands of a different filmmaking team this time led by Swedish director Daniel Alfredson and screenwriter Jonas Frykberg, they've kept the searing intelligence and ruthless bent.
  88. A remarkably rich documentary possessing depth, range, insight and compassion.
  89. A story that won't go away, won't leave you alone, won't let you feel at ease. Intensely dramatic, filled with elevated heroism, crass self-interest and blatant stupidity, it's a paradigmatic narrative of our tendentious, turbulent times.
  90. The Chinese economic miracle, however, came at a wrenching human cost, one that is beautifully explored in an exceptional documentary called Last Train Home.
  91. Suffice to say, unrelenting material like this isn't for everybody. That it is a gloriously filmic gesture - by turns jaw-dropping, elusive, silly, obnoxious, painful and beautiful - is celebration enough.
  92. Much of the film is told compellingly and heartbreakingly through the wide-eyed innocence of five children.
  93. The French, no one needs to be told, take food and food preparation with extreme seriousness. "There are no 'all-you-can eat' places in France," one chef sniffs in this excellent Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker documentary. "The idea is to eat small amounts of the best food."
  94. This is quiet but potent filmmaking that believes nothing is more important than the story it has to tell.
  95. After watching Charles Ferguson's powerhouse documentary about the global economic crisis, you will more than understand what went down - you will be thunderstruck and boiling with rage.
  96. Rapace moves through the escalating exposure with a series of subtle shifts that are both painful and exquisite to watch. The actress can make eye contact seem like salt in an open wound.
  97. One of the best sports documentaries in recent memory.
  98. 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.
  99. In the end, 127 Hours is one man's incredible, unforgettable journey; it took the extraordinary alchemy of Boyle and Franco to also make it ours.

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