Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 9,682 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 The Invisible Woman
Lowest review score: 0 Natural Born Pranksters
Score distribution:
9682 movie reviews
  1. 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
    • 86 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    While I have no doubt that Jaws will make a bloody fortune for Universal and producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown, it is a coarse-grained and exploitive work which depends on excess for its impact. Ashore it is a bore, awkwardly staged and lumpily written.
  2. You can't have Rushmore without Max, and though Anderson obviously planned it this way, the kid is finally too off-putting to tolerate.
  3. It's big, cartoonish and empty, with an interesting premise that is underdeveloped and overproduced. [3 July 1985, p.Calendar 6]
    • Los Angeles Times
  4. Even when Griffin has a heart of stone, Tim Robbins is lacking in the knid of ice-cold magnetism that allows a thorough bastard to hold the screen like nobody's business. [10 Apr 1992]
    • Los Angeles Times
  5. While Malick's great ability holds us for a time, it is finally not enough to compensate for a lack of dramatic involvement - those eschatological quandaries tend to overwhelm the story. The Tree of Life, its enormous advantages notwithstanding, ends up a film that demands to be admired but cannot be easily embraced.
  6. Nothing that Davies does is ordinary or artless but his craftsmanship has its suffocating side too.
  7. Corpse Bride has more warmth and appeal than its title would indicate, but it is finally more grotesque than good-humored. And, even at 75 minutes, it feels longer than its content can comfortably support.
  8. The first-time director's unflinching camera, deliberate pacing and maddeningly long takes just amplify the story's innate harshness and test audience endurance levels.
  9. It's a nervy, quasi-documentary scheme that's often successful, perhaps more so than you'd expect for this kind of a hybrid endeavor. But Macdonald's technique eventually turns out to be as distancing as it is involving, paradoxically undercutting the reality as often as it enhances it.
  10. Though it's a decidedly arty piece, Leviathan, named after the biblical sea creature, also lacks much in the way of traditional beauty or splendor. However, the immersive shots of those swooping and circling sea gulls are quite something.
  11. Solondz's filmmaking style tries to make a virtue out of flatness and distance, and is always more comfortable indicating where feelings would go than actually providing them.
  12. The Wrestler doesn't add up. It's constructed with great care around a lead performance that is everything it could possibly be, but the picture itself is off-putting and disappointing.
  13. A one-trick pony, a movie that has a gift only for making audiences squirm.
  14. A clever, entertaining stunt, no more, no less.
  15. Though a definite improvement on the last three abortive Star Wars prequels directed by series creator George Lucas, The Force Awakens is only at its best in fits and starts, its success dependent on who of its mix of franchise veterans and first-timers is on the screen.
  16. Pohlad did not lack for ideas about how he wanted to portray Brian Wilson's life, but he is without the wherewithal to effectively put them into practice.
  17. Paradoxically, it is Shawshank's zealousness in trying to cast a rosy glow over the prison experience that makes us feel we're doing harder time than the folks inside. [23 Sept 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  18. A potent and unexpected mixture of authenticity and flash -- even if this is what happened on the ground, making it worth our time on screen is just beyond the contortionist abilities of even this most acrobatic of films.
  19. Though Iron Man is diverting enough in the comic-book-movie mode, there is one thing it doesn't have, and that is dramatic unity. Unlike the irreducible element that is its namesake, Iron Man the movie is an alloy, a combination of several different and disconnected components that don't manage to unite to make a coherent whole.
  20. It's strange that in this somber inspection of moral fiber and what causes it to fray, De Palma couldn't have made his hero at least as interesting as his villain, and both of them at least as complicated as they were in life.
  21. Though it has its charms, Monsters, Inc. does not measure up. As a childhood entertainment it is certainly fine, but Pixar's celebrated lure for adults is largely absent.
  22. Drive is a Los Angeles neo-noir, a neon-lit crime story made with lots of visual style. It's a film in love with both traditional noir mythology and ultra-modern violence, a combination that is not ideal.
  23. At first Tabu is intriguing. But the enigma gets wearing as the director's attention is divided between the homage to the silent film era and the film's underlying exploration of the regret of old age.
  24. This time out, Spielberg has chosen to put an antic disposition on, and with the single exception of casting, his almost every decision has been disastrous. He has prettified or coarsened; he has made comic scenes broadly slapstick and tiptoed over the story's crucial relationship. The result, alas, is the film purpled.
  25. 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
  26. Self-conscious about its heroism with portrayals that lean toward the glib and the professionally uplifting, the film milks our sympathies too readily to be emotionally convincing.
  27. It's a film of exceptional technical virtuosity that could have used some help in the dramatic department.
  28. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but Argentine writer-director Damián Szifron allows it to sit until it congeals in the dreary six-part anthology Wild Tales.
  29. Writer-director Jonas Carpignano glosses over much of the sociopolitical context in his depictions of the chain of events.
  30. A performer of formidable self-absorption, Johnston has inspired a film with the same trait, and the results are about what you might expect.
  31. Like many music documentaries, this film suffers from the tendency to reiterate its point too often.
  32. 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
  33. Shallow where it would be meaningful, demanding leaps of faith it has not earned, this film's marriage of arresting technique to empty thinking is not unique, only frustrating.
  34. The nagging lack of specificity with which the film concludes can’t help but call its entire dramatic construction into question.
  35. That bland, opaque quality is a disadvantage here; whatever else [Depp] is capable of, making audiences feel his pain is not at the top of the list.
  36. A more impartial filmmaker might have understood the need for other voices to balance against all that attitude, might have understood how hungry the film makes us for even a single non-adulatory moment.
  37. A solid, often engrossing film that doesn't engage us overall the way Denzel Washington's work does.
  38. Filmmaker J.P. Sniadecki withholds judgment and resists editorializing, but the result is frustratingly nebulous and devoid of context.
  39. A blast into the past, but as with many nostalgic trips it's also shrouded in mist. The awkward, almost embarrassed way in which director Paul Justman, as well as writers Walter Dallas and Ntozake Shange, deal with race is unfortunate, as is the tendency toward overstatement.
  40. Although it, too, is gorgeous to look at, this skeletal thriller is as direct and spare as its Mennonites. [08 Feb 1985]
    • Los Angeles Times
  41. A tragedy devastating to experience can feel generic when transferred to the screen, and that, despite everyone's best intentions and an outstanding performance by Nicole Kidman, is what happens with Rabbit Hole.
  42. Director Wes Anderson, who also co-wrote the "Royal" script with actor Owen Wilson, unquestionably has one of America's most distinctive filmmaking sensibilities, but that is part of the problem. As my mother used to say, too good is no good.
  43. Any comic relief it affords comes with such an undertow of repressed emotions and displaced anger that it all starts to feel more depressing than dramatic.
  44. A meditative piece that is by turns hypnotically beautiful and painfully slow. It's the kind of film perhaps best appreciated in smaller doses, in the same way bench rest can help sustain a tiring museum visit.
  45. A sweet if underwhelming documentary with plenty of character, but told in such a simple and gentle way, it doesn’t quite grab audiences as it could.
  46. Despite the undeniable novelty of having Holmes on hand to keep it real, the absence of traditional character development ultimately takes its toll on viewer empathy.
  47. The problem is that although the characters in Mistress America deliver witty, fast-paced dialogue, they rarely actually seem to be talking to each other, instead facing the audience.
  48. Possibly because Stone empathizes so enormously with co-writer Kovic, who came back from Vietnam at the age of 21 paralyzed from the chest down, the director has lost the specificity that made "Platoon" so electrifying. In its place he uses bombast, overkill, bullying. His scenes, and their ironic juxtapositioning, explode like land mines. [20 Dec 1989, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  49. The result is at once familiar and disconcerting, meta-Keillor done in Altman's desultory, distracted style.
  50. Phony choppers and a startling resemblance to Jon Voight aren't enough to transform Theron into Wuornos, and I didn't buy either the performance or the character for a second.
  51. More lyrical tone poem than straightforward documentary.
  52. De la Iglesia, a filmmaker known for his dark comedies, ultimately has nowhere to take this breathless ode to Fellini and his own mentor, Pedro Almodóvar, as well as backstage showbiz satires like Robert Altman's "The Player" and Michael Hoffman's "Soapdish."
  53. Unfortunately, producer-director Jonathan Berman only scratches the surface of daily life at Black Bear. We're left with many unanswered questions about the nuts-and-bolts of the place, even the basic social interactions and what it's like today. There are so many voices in the piece that we never get to know any of them; it's a dizzying array of opinions.
  54. What is missing is something new - clarity, insight, outrage. Instead, its understatement is ultimately its undoing.
  55. In its determination to overdo sure-fire material, Billy Elliot becomes as impossible to wholeheartedly embrace as it is to completely reject.
  56. The longer it goes, the more frustrating it becomes, as Bar Lev declines to come down on one side or the other.
  57. For a relentlessly violent and exploitive noir knockoff, Sin City is mystifyingly flat and static - cartoonish, even, if you want to get tautological about it.
  58. Young's almost mystical musicianship is what saves it.
  59. A thoughtful but uneven film.
  60. Comes off as convincing but never compelling. There's a ponderous quality to it, as if it's forever clearing its throat to say something of value that doesn't quite get articulated.
  61. High Art is, unfortunately, full of itself and its artistic pretensions.
  62. The happenstance plotting and over-reliance on violence as a plot motor dissipate the film's energy by the end.
  63. Though its elusive character is undoubtedly part of its strength, Dogtooth ends up feeling somehow like a dodge and a sidestep. As a film, it's pure and singular, but it's not quite fully formed enough to be what one could call truly visionary.
  64. Packs a lot of good information, witty visual aids and expert testimonials into its fast 96 minutes, and all the bad eating certainly makes for compelling if at times repugnant viewing. But the film ends up too short and, as a consequence, frustratingly glib.
  65. Lonely, bitter, insecure and clearly unstable, the women are meant to level the emotional playing field and add depth to what is, at heart, a story about the exploitation of poor nations by rich and powerful ones. But they wind up being too bitter and unstable to elicit much sympathy.
  66. Le Week-End is a sour and misanthropic film masquerading as an honest and sensitive romance. A painful and unremittingly bleak look at a difficult marriage, it wants us to sit through a range of domestic horrors without offering much of anything as a reward.
  67. There are not one, but two wars raging inside this adaptation: one between the North and the South, and another, more calamitous war between art and middlebrow entertainment.
  68. Foley's family members, colleagues and prison cell mates vividly recount his 2011 imprisonment in Libya, his difficulty reacclimating to home life in sleepy New England after his release, before leaving again for Syria and enduring imprisonment by ISIS.
  69. It's excusable for a sheltered novice filmmaker to be out of touch like this, but not for a veteran.
  70. A measured, decorous, at times pat film that manages to be quietly moving because it touches on something real.
  71. Unfortunately, director Michael Lehmann's point of view is swivel-mounted: He doesn't have the courage of his cynicism. [31 Mar 1989]
    • Los Angeles Times
  72. Instead of pushing for tough answers to difficult questions, this film is content to mythologize Thompson's bad-boy behavior, celebrating things like his willingness to drink a bottle of bourbon a day and go hunting with a submachine gun.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. Life, however, cannot be lived entirely on stage, and once the characters have to take off their thongs and return to their real lives, the film goes nowhere that is either interesting, involving or surprising.
  76. Alternately riveting and wearying, up-to-the-minute relevant as well as self-mythologizingly self-indulgent — as much of a heroic origins story as anything out of the Marvel factory — Straight Outta Compton ends up juggling more story lines and moods than it can handle.
  77. 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.
  78. By the end, Ross’ initially disarming fusion of cleverness and whimsy has curdled into a dispiritingly familiar mix of sentimentality and self-satisfaction.
  79. The laughs come easily, the screams not so much. It's as if the filmmakers got so wrapped up in the satire they forgot to include the intense sensation of rising dread that creates all the thrills and chills that are part of the attraction.
  80. The film has been hailed as something of a literary thriller; it's not. The stultifying pace and Moskowitz's filmmaking laziness are forgivable, but it's exasperating and indicative of our low expectations for the documentary form that a film that taps the likes of Leslie Fiedler could be so devoid of ideas. Reading is fundamental; so is thinking.
  81. 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.
  82. Du Welz, despite a strong assist from cinematographer Manuel Dacosse, rarely musters the requisite tension or propulsion to immerse us fully in the story's wickedly wild ride.
  83. But bearing witness can be a complex thing and in its concern to illuminate Sarajevo is prone to overkill, to trying too hard to squeeze in every troubling wartime incident.
  84. Sunset Song, Davies’ adaptation of a 1932 novel about a Scottish farming family, falls short of the intended cumulative effect, its emotional power undercut by its studied, episodic unfolding.
  85. Given the routineness of the chase itself, what jumps out here is the pervasive desperation shared by just about every character.
  86. Star Routh's presence and the joys of flight keep Superman Returns alive, but all those missteps dog its heels, holding it back like little touches of Kryptonite in the night.
  87. Not without its funny moments, much of Birdcage seems pro forma and predictable. What felt original in 1978 is no longer half so inspired.
  88. Dope is, in the end, just another unfunny grab bag of stereotypes. Don't believe the hype.
  89. Turns into a film that is too ostentatiously pleased with itself, so in love with its own cleverness it doesn't notice it's darn near worn you out.
  90. This melding of two cinematic sensibilities, though effective at moments, is finally not as exciting or involving as it we'd like it to be.
  91. 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.
  92. There's something about professional comedians breaking down what's funny for civilians that gets annoying after a while.
  93. 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.
  94. The new film is so leisurely paced and overly long that what means to be at once charming yet darkly satirical lapses into tedium and barely comes alive.
  95. Scorsese and his team have created a heavy-footed golem of a motion picture, hard to ignore as it throws its weight around but fatally lacking in anything resembling soul.
  96. There is more to admire in A Beautiful Mind than you might suspect, but less than its creators believe. When the film does succeed, it almost seems to do so despite itself.
  97. Shot on grainy, often blown-out and distorted consumer-grade video, scored to a feedback distortion-heavy soundtrack that will be familiar to fans and tinnitus sufferers alike, and clocking in at one merciful minute under three hours, Lynch's much-anticipated follow-up to "Mulholland Drive" signals a hale swan-dive off the deep end, away from any pretense of narrative logic and into the purer realm of unconscious free association. I found myself pining for "The Elephant Man," but that's just me.
  98. Veber, also responsible for "The Dinner Game," apparently has a finger on the pulse of French audiences and Gallic-minded Americans, but there's just not a lot of freshness in this Closet.
  99. It's a drag how Nettelbeck sees working women -- or at least this working woman -- for whom she shows little understanding; there's a puritan, even punitive, cast to the way she sees her character, whose pathology she digs at with the tenacity of a truffle hound.

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