Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,040 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 0.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 On the Waterfront (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 21 and Over
Score distribution:
8,040 movie reviews
  1. A gorgeous film with a vision strong enough to sustain heart-tugging, heightened by San Bao's romantic score, that verges on the sentimental.
  2. McGrath, who adapted the novel, manages to catch the flavor of it without its tang.
  3. She was guilty, no doubt, but as this immensely moving film makes clear, Aileen Wuornos was also heartbreakingly human.
  4. As for the many loose ends the director leaves, you can either tie them or leave them loose, either way is fine since the experience as much as anything is what Antoniak was after.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Making the Boys reveals just how bound up Crowley's play is with the history of the gay community, most heartbreakingly in the number of original company members who died from AIDS.
  5. It's the offbeat love story at the heart of Liebling's resurrection that provides the film's most powerful - and touching - surprise.
  6. A cool documentary that makes the blood boil, it examines how people can be psychologically manipulated into confessing. Not only to crimes they may not have committed but, even worse, to crimes that may never have happened.
  7. Without passing judgment, Dickman illustrates how Hanna's way of life and personal convictions compelled his politics. He also allows Steve Hanna a fair shot at presenting his version of the events.
  8. The will-he-or-won't-he question becomes the focus of director Mark Raso's film, and how William responds under the mercy of Effy's whims ultimately determines whether he can emerge from his self-absorption at long last.
  9. Walters engagingly captures Botso teaching music, sculpting, conducting, spending time with his wife and young daughters and even traveling back to his Georgian hometown of Tbilisi. The energy, dedication, kindness and optimism he displays are truly infectious.
  10. A documentary experience to savor. Warm, funny and very difficult to resist, this engaging film combines the charm of "Spellbound" with the kinetic energy of "Strictly Ballroom" in a way that will make you want to laugh, cry and do a little dancing yourself, maybe all at the same time.
  11. Only the Young rarely coalesces into anything more meaningful than a casual collection of moments. Maybe that's the point.
  12. 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.
  13. This film's cold, almost robotic conception of Salander as a twitchy, anorexic waif feels more like a stunt than a complete character, and so the best part of the reason we care enough to endure all that mayhem has gone away.
  14. The character mechanics... leave the viewer always feeling a step ahead of the story and its too-late-to-excite twists. As a portrait of violence-riven motherhood, however, Riseborough gives Shadow Dancer most of its grave power.
  15. Unlike so many computer-animated movies, "Horton" doesn't have that garish, sealed-in-plastic effect that can be so claustrophobic.
  16. Like the family, the film occasionally comes apart at the seams. But Childers and Garner are absolutely mesmerizing as Iris and Rose.
  17. Horn, who knew Nomi, does an excellent job of evoking the exhilaratingly hedonistic period the film covers as well as the long shadow that the coming of AIDS casts over it.
  18. A grueling peek at a doomsday prophet's rigorous mind but in a sly way also a compassionate look at the strain Ruppert endures from knowing he has only ever been right.
  19. Blessed with clever plot devices and a villainous horde that makes the once-dread Klingons seem like a race of Barneys, First Contact does everything you'd want a "Star Trek" film to do, and it does it with cheerfulness and style.
  20. Good-humored and just about reeking of innocence, That Thing You Do! is what a character has in mind when he asks for "something happy, peppy, up-tempo." Leaving audiences feeling good is very much, and very successfully, on its mind. [04 Oct 1996, Pg.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  21. It's an interesting take, and it always holds our interest, but it's finally too ham-fisted to be a completely winning one.
  22. Smart and beguiling, it manages the impressive feat of believing wholeheartedly in the power of love without checking its mind at the door.
  23. The result is a touching and humorous documentary that for all its enlightening scope, encompassing centuries of religious and cultural history and a physical voyage of thousands of miles, is ultimately a deceptively simple tale of a daughter trying to reconnect with her father across two boroughs.
  24. It shows promise but finally hits things so hard, both literally and metaphorically, that it's hard not to feel pummeled yourself by the time it's over.
  25. The structure, sliding between memories evoked by objects in the house and the common difficulties of moving day, should play with more elegance than it does. Instead, it feels awkward and frequently - as does the film on the whole - too on the nose, too obvious.
  26. Having seen the show on stage, I wondered if Birbiglia could morph the ideas into an equally funny movie. He hasn't quite, but he's come pretty close.
  27. To watch the film is to marvel at the cast's virtuosity at fleshing out the shallowest people in England, and the observable intelligence and talent of all those involved doesn't make Separate Lies any more compelling, or its characters more resonant.
  28. The narrative arc swings between light and darkness, from the sheer joy of the Persian rappers who practice on top of an unfinished skyscraper, to Nadar's arrest and interrogation for his black-market DVDs. In Ghobadi's hands, though, it always feels real.
  29. When faced as a director with the rudderless screenplay he (Jonze) co-wrote with Eggers, he's been powerless to energize it in any involving way. Sometimes you are better off with 10 sentences than tens of millions of dollars, and this is one of those times.
  30. Green's resolution is sensitive, expected, yet visionary. And, like the rest of the film, it is shot with a magnificent play of color and light that makes the characters' corner of the world seem like the cradle of compassion.
  31. A splendid work that will be a revelation to the uninitiated and a joy to music lovers.
  32. Hoover's stubbornly ground-level perspective renders the documentary's lack of context about HIV in India...rather frustrating. But Blood Brother feels important anyway, not so much as a snapshot of one volunteer but for its passionate portrayal of the curative powers of love.
  33. This journey into "Martha Marcy May Marlene" territory is never as tense and gripping as it should be, the incidents and most of the performances too tamped-down to spark a much-needed sense of animating friction.
  34. The freshness and originality that flow through Roman de Gare now burst into full flower, revealing the director's depth and perception.
  35. Telling things through the eyes of a spoiled, precocious, troublemaking 8-year-old narrator is both an overdone device and not a particularly engaging one.
  36. Willem Dafoe's performance in Shadow of the Vampire is so irresistible it not only breaks that cycle but turns an otherwise just adequate film into something everyone will want to take a look at.
  37. There's undeniable pathos to many of these encounters, and because the director has a wonderful feel for color and knows how to throw a frame around the world, there's also unmistakable beauty.
  38. A sly and gleeful comedy showcase that pokes clever fun at the American musical, amateur theatricals and anything else that's not nailed down.
  39. A graceful mood piece that is infinitely moving.
  40. 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.
  41. Carandiru is Babenco's fourth film set inside some type of incarceration facility and meshes his documentary style and fondness for realism with the escapism of storytelling found in "Kiss of the Spider Woman." It plunges us deep inside a corrupt system and its sincere empathy creates a stirring mix of emotions.
  42. As a result of Mann's craftsmanship and concern, Collateral crackles with energy and purpose, a propulsive film with character on its mind and confident men and women on both sides of the camera.
  43. 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.
  44. An unapologetic cheerleader for exploring the final frontier, Hanks wrote and produced (along with director Mark Cowen) this enthralling look at what might be the greatest technological feat of the 20th century.
  45. While excellent films like Danis Tanovic's Oscar-winning "No Man's Land" and Vinko Bresan's "Witnesses" have dealt with the war itself, few have dealt with the aftermath, and none with the aching power and empathy of Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams.
  46. Clockers, Lee's eighth feature in nine years, demonstrates how accomplished a filmmaker he has become, securely in control of plot, actors and imagery.
  47. The cumulative effect is more that of a handsomely crafted museum piece than a moving, emotional journey.
  48. The result is a rich and detailed picture of the particular culture of this particular part of the South.
  49. Tense and gut-wrenching, Beyond the Gates is a horrifying story told with grace and compassion.
  50. Though Aliens of the Deep flirts with Zissou-Murray's divine madness, Cameron's vision seems somehow cozier. No wonder he's not yet ready for dry dock.
  51. Bagdad Cafe, which Adlon wrote with his wife, Eleonore, and Christopher Doherty, is a miracle of timing and control for all its aura of zany, off-the-cuff spontaneity. It is the work of a director who has such a clear idea of what he wants and where he's going that he can take his time to build up every joke for the maximum payoff.
  52. Made by Hickenlooper over a six-year period, "Mayor" is rich in interviews, with comments from rock stars.
  53. Fixing Frank is "good theater," and in the writing and in Butler's quietly chilling, ever-so-civilized portrayal, Apsey emerges as a veritable Svengali.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Pollack does give a substantial chunk of screen time to Milton Wexler, Gehry's longtime analyst, who proves to be a winning, charismatic presence.
  54. What unfolds is a dark comic thriller and action-hero send-up, a strange alloy of daredevil helicopter maneuvers and night of the living elves. Captured in atmospheric widescreen camerawork, the end-of-the-world frozen landscape (actually Norway) is spectacular and spooky.
  55. Thoroughly engrossing.
  56. A roguish and delightful comedy of duplicity that's as entertaining as it is sly.
  57. It's got an involving, adventurous story to tell and the wherewithal to tell it correctly. And while young adults may think this is intended only for them, in truth it's their elders who are especially starved for this kind of entertainment.
  58. Their personality types match up splendidly with the characters they play as well as each other, and Mrs. Brown's greatest pleasure is seeing and hearing them spar. Even with the gloves on, this is a battle well worth observing.
  59. The rest is an adrenaline ride, but one more wearying than eye-opening.
  60. As epic as its two-hours-and-25-minute running time indicates, Black Book is as subversive as it is traditional, both enamored of conventional notions of heroism and frankly contemptuous of them.
  61. With its grasp of suspense and character, it hits the mark as a portrait of openhearted determination that's devoid of desperation.
  62. If you are experienced enough to understand love's fragility but still romantic enough to embrace its power, Like Crazy will put you away.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A youth culture backdropped by the crumbling edge of California is rendered with punk rock energy and grace.
  63. Although the documentary can feel like a volunteer instructional video at times, the faces on those who have fallen through the cracks in the system speak volumes.
  64. Swanberg achieves an occasionally heady aura of improvisational flirtatiousness mixed with a churning will-they-or-won't-they suspense.
  65. Edgy and provocative but with a weakness for sensationalistic footage.
  66. The film effectively conveys the fears and frustrations of Palestinians struggling in a country that treats them as the enemy.
  67. An odd combination of righteous, raucous and rueful.
  68. The film's three-pronged narrative does a fair job of laying a spooky groundwork for the revelatory emotional sadism that lies behind most acts of evil; it just takes a bit of clunky exposition to get there.
  69. Moves way past the predictable into the shocking. Indeed, the film is so expertly structured and paced that its denouement knocks you off your feet.
  70. The kind of full-length career portrait that every great actor deserves but rarely receives.
  71. It is a superb period re-creation and boasts a formidable international cast.... It is nevertheless absorbing and illuminating in regard to the eras its spans but is also pretty wearying by the time it starts winding down.
  72. One of the most unfashionable movies of the new year, and one of the more appealing. [19 February 1999, Calendar, p.F-10]
    • Los Angeles Times
  73. A genially twisted riff on the familiar alien invaders story, a lively summer entertainment that marries a deadpan sense of humor to the strangest creatures around.
  74. This is much more conventional cops and robbers stuff, leavened with a bit of sex and sequences of brutal, at times sadistic, violence. What elevates it above the norm is bravura acting by Vincent Cassel in the title role.
  75. Despite the linked advantages of generous helpings of the man's high octane music and a star performance by Chadwick Boseman that's little short of heroic, Get on Up is more frustrating than fulfilling, a disjointed film that suffers from having a more ambitious plan than it's got the ability to execute.
  76. If you let it be what it is, Donnie Darko will knock you flat.
  77. 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.
  78. "Breakdown" gets the music right and has the benefit of strong acting, but its unapologetically melodramatic plot has a tendency to throw everything at you but the kitchen sink.
  79. A moving, troubling documentary. Moving because of the nature of the problem it explores, troubling because the film can't help but underline that simple solutions are never going to present themselves, no matter how much we want them to.
  80. Just as there will always be an England, there will always be a certain kind of English film: the highly polished entertainment, well-acted, genteelly amusing and impeccably turned out. Mrs. Henderson Presents is the latest example of the trend and an especially satisfying one.
  81. With his wide, hollow eyes, nervous fingers and celebrated big hair, Spector is a haunted-looking figure whose words are always compelling no matter what unexpected dissatisfactions they may reveal.
  82. Fascinating, highly entertaining.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A well-worn coming-of-age tale enlivened by pungent detail and a sharp visual sense.
  83. Performances are crisp, as is everything else about this vital, economical film, proof that less really can be more.
  84. With pathos competing equally against the often pungent laughs for the audience's attention, it's a movie that is both unsettling and amusing, most comparable to "Chuck & Buck" in tone.
  85. A constant, idiosyncratic pleasure that leaves us eager to see what the Goodmans and Logue will do next.
  86. Soon becomes a sadistic experience in its own right. Experiencing this pretentious wallow -- overwritten, under-thought and overdone -- is a very sophisticated form of torture.
  87. With its gift for infusing uneasiness into every frame, Kurosawa's moody, unnerving film continues to spook us even after the lights have gone on.
  88. A film of exceptional emotional honesty.
  89. Succeeds by never tipping its hand or losing its equilibrium while its characters often seem to be doing nothing but.
  90. While the charismatic performances of Damon and Affleck make Good Will Hunting a difficult entertainment to resist, doing just that is not as hard as the film would like to think.
  91. Almereyda imagines Hamlet taking place in present-day Manhattan with such vigor, insight and originality that the power and immediacy of his film makes Shakespeare accessible in an exciting and provocative manner beyond all expectations.
  92. A carefully thought out and consummately well-made piece of work, a serious comic-book adaptation that is driven by story, psychology and reality, not special effects.
  93. Sophisticated in its ease and spontaneity, it was directed with clarity and rigor by Auraeus Solito from Michiiko Yamamoto's acutely perceptive script.
  94. There is a sense of sadness around Earth Days, a sense that opportunities were not capitalized on, that not enough was done.
  95. A well-researched and iconoclastic documentary that is both thoughtful and troubling, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is indeed a cautionary tale, but what it cautions against is the lure of easy judgments derived from prejudices and ignorance of the facts.
  96. Block's work, so often ahead of the curve (Woodward and Bernstein marvel at how he understood Watergate before them), always comes shining through, revealing an artist who made it his mission to champion the "little guy" and speak truth to power.

Top Trailers