Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,532 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 0.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 35 Shots of Rum
Lowest review score: 0 The Green Hornet
Score distribution:
7,532 movie reviews
  1. Though Training Day doesn't resolve itself as well as it deserves and ends strictly cops-and-robbers style, it's given us some great acting and something to ponder. Not every cop show can lay claim to that.
  2. It turns out to be an especially warm comedy with a hidden heart. It's a film whose humor has feeling behind it because writer-director Peter Hedges doesn't let his comedy overpower an understanding of how emotionally weighted family situations are always going to be.
  3. Somber yet not without flashes of humor, The City of No Limits unfolds with a steady, cumulative power to a climax of surprises within surprises.
  4. It once again confuses a kind of juvenile titillation with insight and treats the ability to make audiences squirm as a pinnacle of film art.
  5. The filmmakers' special triumph lies in the inspired way that in the nick of time it draws its story to a close, with Nora and Joyce struggling toward a new level of understanding.
  6. It unapologetically exults in its characters' glorious imperfection. It's good to know that oddballs, outcasts and people who don't look like Barbie and Ken still have a place in American movies and that not everyone in Hollywood pays lip service to the nice and polite.
  7. It's got a terrific inside Hollywood sensibility plus an unblinking candor that lets the chips fall where they should. Which, given who made it, is something of a pleasant surprise.
  8. 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.
  9. More athletes than actors, Raffaelli and Belle are terrific when their bodies are in motion but the movie grinds to a halt when they open their mouths.
  10. Cronos surprises with its sophisticated and spirited look at a tale straight from the crypt. [22 Apr 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  11. Like the best war movies do, director Peter Ho-Sun Chan has woven together an intimate story of men against a backdrop of history writ large.
  12. If that all sounds like a lot of good, clean fun, a word of warning. In what seems to have become the genre's raison d'etre, the dialogue is so blue at times that you'll probably feel the heat of the blushing cheeks on either side of you, especially whenever Reilly's fast-talking savant of smut shows up.
  13. All in all, Happy Christmas is a good deal like cartoon Charlie Brown's classic tree — scraggly, plenty of heart and much to enjoy, especially if you prefer your presents homemade.
  14. What makes this film special, as in his other films, is the getting there. Téchiné is the master of subtle shifts in mood, an acute delineator of psychological interplay, and therefore demands the utmost of his actors.
  15. Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie is as fair a portrayal the weak-chinned warrior will get — and fairer than he deserves.
  16. Chalk avoids some of the pitfalls of the mock-doc by showing real affection and empathy for its characters, whose funny lives of quiet desperation inspire more than their share of tenderness.
  17. 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.
  18. Though the politically incorrect language is tough enough to have earned Clerks an initial NC-17 rating (re-rated R on appeal), its exuberance gives it an alive and kicking feeling that is welcome and rare. [19 Oct 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  19. Boy
    Writer-director and co-star Taika Waititi ("Eagle vs Shark") never builds much momentum for his largely uneventful if sometimes inventive story.
  20. It is astonishing to realize that the highly confident Tears of the Black Tiger marks the directorial debut of Sasanatieng, after having written two movies hugely successful in Thailand, yet in truth he belongs to a long line of first-rate filmmakers who understand the wisdom of taking big chances the first time at bat.
  21. Thumbsucker aims high but swerves too frequently between the engaging and the credibility-defying to be satisfying.
  22. Clocking in at 2 hours and 32 minutes, it is unforgivably leisurely, almost glacial, a film that loses its way in the thickets of alternative history and manages to be violent without the start-to-finish energy that violence on screen usually guarantees.
  23. This is a moving and provocative film that initially unsettles, then disturbs and finally haunts you well into the night.
  24. The beauty of this film is in its lapidary details, which sparkle with feeling and surprise.
  25. It's tempting to forget that Cage is not Terence. That would be unfair though, and diminish the sheer ferocity of his performance.
  26. A runaway train drama that never slows down, it fashions familiarity into a virtue and shows why old-school professionalism never goes out of style.
  27. Brave simply doesn't feel as much like the Pixar movies we've come to expect.
  28. Something about Eklavya: The Royal Guard suggests a lost film by David Lean. With some muted echoes of "Hamlet." And a whiff of "Rigoletto."
  29. Any glimpse of emotional honesty comes courtesy of the actors, who manage to do a credible job despite the material.
  30. Features an aggressive, in-your-face romanticism that's noticeably lacking in genuine warmth. While its story of lonely misfits searching for love has appealing moments, more often it turns into an overbearing fable overburdened with fake joie de vivre.
  31. A funkadelic fun ride that shrewdly reinvigorates the eye-popping styles and pulpy veneer of '70s blaxploitation flicks.
  32. The impulse to end on an "up" note, to turn complex and contradictory lives into palatable narratives, is one of the least-examined pitfalls in nonfiction filmmaking. But in her attempt to give their lives a shape that the girls themselves seem to resist, this talented filmmaker has done both herself and them a disservice.
  33. Slither is a gross, disgusting, but undeniably amusing treat laden with homages and in-jokes.
  34. "Ashes" is glorious and ultimately wrenching, but it's a tough journey.
  35. 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.
  36. Encouraged by Mendes' artful direction, his gift for eliciting naturalness, the core of this film finally cries out to us today, makes us see that the notion of characters struggling with life, with the despair of betraying their best selves because of what society will or won't allow, is as gripping and relevant now as it ever was. Or ever will be.
  37. A slick and efficient piece of action entertainment, fast moving with energetic stunt work and nice thriller moves.
  38. A winning combination of humor and crafty filmmaking.
  39. With its grasp of suspense and character, it hits the mark as a portrait of openhearted determination that's devoid of desperation.
  40. Entertaining, nostalgic and well-organized documentary.
  41. A slight, if often riveting, behind-the-scenes documentary.
  42. Cinderella Man's key emotional moments feel as if they've been predigested for an audience that can't be trusted to feel things for itself but needs to be firmly albeit lovingly pointed in the appropriate direction.
  43. Mightily impressive to look at. What it's like to listen to is somewhat different.
  44. The result is a take-no-prisoners movie from one of Hong Kong's most idiosyncratic, shoot-from-the-hip filmmakers that's the very antithesis of sentimental gay love stories. [31 Oct 1997]
    • Los Angeles Times
  45. Director Wayne Kramer and co-writer Frank Hannah pull off a sleight-of-hand trick here, playing a gritty surface reality against dark Vegas mythology and getting away with it through a combination of shrewd, witty characterization and sure-footed storytelling skills.
  46. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn never lets up, continually introducing new characters and adding new thrills and chills right up to the last frame… A terrific trip, although admittedly not one that everybody would enjoy taking. [13 Mar 1987, Calendar, p.6-14]
    • Los Angeles Times
  47. May well be Imamura's funniest film; it is also one of his most accomplished. It is the work of a mature artist who has kept his adventurous spirit alive, which he has expressed in a complex and risky work carried off with an effortlessness that comes only from wisdom and experience.
  48. Brown's engrossing and poignant documentary on Van Zandt, is filled with appearances by celebrated performers who are simply fans of this legendarily troubled figure with the aching voice and haunted Lincoln-esque look.
  49. An intelligent adult drama that's especially relevant in these harsh economic times.
  50. Makes for a thoroughly captivating film.
  51. It's a complex, determined look at one of the most pernicious problems facing organized sports on all levels.
  52. Barbara Sukowa's performance in the title role is the kind that reverberates long after the screen goes black.
  53. With Palo Alto Coppola transforms weakness into strength, vulnerability into armor.
  54. 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.
  55. The Painted Veil has all the elements in place to be a great epic, but it fails to connect, to paraphrase Maugham's contemporary E.M. Forster, the prose with the passion. It's impeccable, but leaves you cold.
  56. The ambitious Peepli Live manages to mine substantial dark humor from this tragic situation while offering pointed - and sometimes poignant - social commentary in the process.
  57. Black Gold moves at an inexorable pace, painstakingly building a case until suddenly it looms very large and casts an even longer shadow.
  58. Somewhere between the rabbit-hole absurdist comedy of Charlie Kaufman and a navel-gazing Woody Allen film is the somberly humorous indie Cold Souls.
  59. The AIDS scare remains as much window dressing as do other period details such as rotary phones and cassette tapes. Test seems to be about dance above all, with choreographed montages filling the bulk of its running time.
  60. A beautiful, harrowing film of understated power and perception that affords Fernando Fernán Gómez, the Spanish cinema's great, weathered veteran, yet another of his unforgettable performances.
  61. One could argue that, in varying degrees, all of the iconoclastic French director's films have dismantled femme-centric fairy tales. But in this, the second of a planned trilogy, she's confronting burnished old folk tales head-on. Sly and playful, it's a beauty.
  62. 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.
  63. The result is a kind of quiet Scandinavian cousin (OK, twice removed) to "Home Alone," in which patient viewers will find sporadic rewards.
  64. It's hard to believe a story this serious can be told in such an involving way, but that is one of this expert documentarian's greatest gifts.
  65. Hank is but the latest of Thornton's strikingly taciturn characters in a whole string of movies, but for Berry, Leticia represents a big-screen breakthrough.
  66. A serious film with a lot on its mind, is probably the most intelligent treatment of this period we've had.
  67. This graceful and wise film moves to its denouement with subtlety and, at its end, strikes a note that seems just right for all that has gone before.
  68. The Farrellys here show a gift not just for finding humor where others have feared to look but for presenting it in a way that is surprisingly close to irresistible.
  69. Handsome as all Allen films are, and it proceeds with the brisk, sophisticated air of throwaway confidence and lack of pretense that we expect from the contemporary master of grown-up comedy.
    • Los Angeles Times
  70. Remarkably, much of that sizzling sensibility was caught on film and has been stylishly stitched together with her personal history in the scrumptious new documentary, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.
  71. Laudatory but never simplistic, Bill W. is a thoroughly engrossing portrait of Wilson, his times and the visionary fellowship that is his legacy.
  72. Writer-director Clark's commitment to a deadpan vibe of crisp comic kink amid eccentric, left-turn sorrow can sometimes feel condescending. But within this not-so-jolly trip into the detailed recesses of simmering suburban emptiness, Hollyman takes this woman's barely controlled dignity on a quietly brave, revealing ride.
  73. The film takes some deciphering, but once a viewer cracks its code Alps opens up into something expansive and rich. Part of what makes Lanthimos so uniquely masterful is that he remains in control while refusing to point toward any singular interpretation.
  74. A skillfully rendered narrative that should satisfy fans and pique the interest of the uninitiated.
  75. A stirring ode to cultural bridge-building.
  76. Whedon is the key reason why this $220-million behemoth of a movie is smartly thought out and executed with verve and precision. It may be overly long at two hours, 23 minutes, but so much is going on you might not even notice.
  77. It sounds like a throwback to an earlier, more traditional style of Israeli filmmaking but it instead provides a view of that country that's as satisfyingly eccentric and unexpected as anything we've seen.
  78. It is a caustic, comic, cerebral romp for a long time before it hits you with its best shot — some Polanski-worthy darkness.
  79. Exhilarating and frustrating at the same time... the Coens' skill is such that you're not averse to following them anywhere, but every once in a while you can't help wishing they weren't so dead set against throwing the rest of us at least a hint of what's on their minds. [21 Aug 1991]
    • Los Angeles Times
  80. If Watermark does nothing else, it will make you question society's contradictory view of water use.
  81. This film feels completely haphazard, thrown together without much concern for organizing intelligence.
  82. Its warped, disconnected sensibility makes for an oddly distant piece of work.
    • Los Angeles Times
  83. It feels like a vague, upscale knockoff of "The Beverly Hillbillies," and Jenkins' eagerness to please with class-conscious jokiness often comes at the expense of her solid underlying issues.
  84. Diaz has said that she hopes the film asks the right questions. But it seems, in this case, that the questions are leading - and rightly so. Marcos is given all the tape she needs to hang herself.
  85. A work of breathtaking imagination, less a movie than a mode of transport, and in every sense a masterpiece.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The documentary is an enlightening journey to a dark corner of contemporary punk's dank little basement. It also will surprise some to hear how articulately some of the former performers explain the dark impulses that propelled them.
  86. Seductive and creepy, perfect for a hot summer night when nobody has the energy to pose a lot of questions.
  87. Post Tenebras Lux is that real rarity in cinema, a visually striking archaeology of the psyche that benefits both the moviegoer primed to engage Reygadas' ideas, and the ones open to being swallowed in an art film wave.
  88. A crafty, brainy and uniquely stirring concoction.
  89. The very title suggests that this compelling and provocative film is going to be different from other Holocaust documentaries.
  90. A luminous, piercing film from the Elizabeth Bowen novel, richly evokes a world of privilege on the verge of disintegration.
  91. Insightful and thoughtful.
    • Los Angeles Times
  92. The look and feel of the film is entirely beguiling. It is deliberately not a period piece, heavy with dated styles and fads, but instead evokes a sense of timelessness.
  93. Although the term cinéma vérité is overused as a descriptor for documentaries, it applies here. The makers of Horns and Halos eschew the Michael Moore "poke 'em with a stick, let's watch 'em squirm" approach and wisely let the cameras roll, interspersing news footage with their own interviews.
  94. This mind-and-fork-bending sci-fi saga comes from the freaky imaginations of director Josh Trank and screenwriter Max Landis, who've packed their feature debut with smartness.
  95. Gilliam never aims down, his films zing in somewhere at the Mensa level of reference, but he seems confident that we will catch the wit of his visual quotations and so we do. Like a film making Catherine wheel, he throws off an immoderate art history display; he plunders past film styles with a free hand to make a point. [5 Mar 1989, p.23]
    • Los Angeles Times
  96. A transgender icon with a life as tragically short as some of the idols she worshipped, she's the deserving subject of an archivally rich remembrance, and such is James Rasin's poignant documentary Beautiful Darling.
  97. A sports film to remember.
  98. It's a story of contained chaos, quietly observed — one that catches fire more in retrospect than in the viewing.
  99. Overall, Charlie Wilson's War is glib rather than witty, one of those films that comes off as being more pleased with itself than it has a right to be. It also suffers from being not all of a piece, with mismatched elements struggling to cohere.

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