Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 8,094 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 0.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Lowest review score: 0 Nothing Like the Holidays
Score distribution:
8,094 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. A work of breathtaking imagination, less a movie than a mode of transport, and in every sense a masterpiece.
  3. "Antarctica" is successful because it operates on two complementary levels, the epic visuals whose grandeur can stagger you and the small-scale personal stories of the people who live and work down there.
    • 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.
  4. Private Violence makes painfully clear the emotional and legal hurdles battered women endure just to feel safe again in or outside the home.
  5. Satiric, surreal, unexpected and at times wildly funny, Zero Motivation is a savage black comedy that eviscerates an unexpected target: the Israeli army.
  6. Seductive and creepy, perfect for a hot summer night when nobody has the energy to pose a lot of questions.
  7. 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.
  8. A crafty, brainy and uniquely stirring concoction.
  9. The very title suggests that this compelling and provocative film is going to be different from other Holocaust documentaries.
  10. A luminous, piercing film from the Elizabeth Bowen novel, richly evokes a world of privilege on the verge of disintegration.
  11. Insightful and thoughtful.
    • Los Angeles Times
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. A sports film to remember.
  18. What makes Into the Woods so entertaining is the cleverness of the tale itself and the way specific characters match the talents of its storytellers.
  19. It's a story of contained chaos, quietly observed — one that catches fire more in retrospect than in the viewing.
  20. 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.
  21. The Spierig brothers have deftly fashioned an unpredictable thrill ride, and the joy is to fit together all its puzzle pieces.
  22. With Philipe apparently doing a lot of his own stunts, Fanfan is replete with heroic leaps, speedy horse rides, occasional explosions and clashing sabers. If this all sounds like a 1950s version of "Pirates of the Caribbean," that may not be such a bad comparison.
  23. 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."
  24. As much as filmmakers Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler capture the energy and attitude of the band's early days, it is the more recent footage of Fishbone still making the most of it - despite years of personality conflicts, personnel changes and commercial disappointments - that has an emotional appeal.
  25. The Underneath doesn't add up. Made with polish and assurance, capably acted and intricately constructed, its overall impact is less than these parts would indicate. It is good but, against all logic, it is not good enough.
  26. Impressive as is Wilson's output and oeuvre, it's the fully-engaged, aesthetically driven life that fascinates. And Otto-Bernstein's movie is a portrait of an artist at his most essential, in every sense.
  27. 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.
  28. It's not entirely satisfying, but there's plenty to savor in Chicken With Plums.
  29. Splendid entertainment, young in spirit but accomplished in all aspects with the fullness of spirit and sense of ease that comes only with experience.
  30. Sayles' films are always of interest, and even though the partly cloudy Sunshine State is not the writer-director at his best, even his letdowns often have more to offer than other people's successes.
  31. (To be) thoroughly enjoyed as a privileged look at one of the loopiest of late 20th century lives.
  32. Enlivening things to an unprecedented extent, the songs turn O Brother into perhaps the warmest production in the Coens' repertoire.
  33. Lacks the scope and distance that could have been provided by an outsider. But it speaks in such a frank way that avoids self-indulgence that its limits are forgiven.
  34. Energetic and absorbing documentary.
  35. Grainily shot but radiating life, The Amazing Catfish is an enormously affecting portrait of a family in crisis that dares to hope.
  36. Bastards is a thriller truly etched in darkness, pools of black broken mostly by the stricken yet soldiering faces of her main characters, like ships in a sea of stormy nights.
  37. The film dawdles at times. but for the most part Donaldson keeps just the right amount of tension present in each scene.
  38. With its R&B soundtrack and footage of civil unrest, Talk to Me might seem to cover familiar ground. But as an intimate portrait of the complex, fruitful and extremely volatile friendship between trailblazing African American men whose daring came to redefine an industry, it's fresh and revelatory.
  39. Tears of Gaza is both horrifying and frustrating. This documentary's goals are noble ones, but its execution is something else again.
  40. An elegantly discursive examination of one of the great modern photographers, a surprisingly intimate portrait of an elusive, laconic man.
  41. Tells this most unusual love story with grace and compassion.
  42. This impeccably made film is chock-full of enlightening and sometimes bizarre moments.
  43. It's unique, powerful stuff.
  44. It's an adult look at the teenage years, an examination of how personal emotions inform political action, a noteworthy change of pace for writer-director Sally Potter and, most of all, the showcase for a performance by Elle Fanning as Ginger that is little short of phenomenal.
  45. Live Flesh is an effortlessly articulated tragicomedy by Pedro Almodovar, a world-renowned filmmaker at the height of his powers. [30 Jan 1998]
    • Los Angeles Times
  46. Aside from preserving these folks for a presumably grateful posterity and convincingly depicting Austin as an open-air lunatic asylum, Slacker does not offer much to anyone who likes to stay awake.
  47. What sustains the film through the rockier times are its challenging themes, offering real issues for the young protagonists to wrestle with, rather than whether anyone will be carded trying to buy beer.
  48. Miller and Lord clearly understand the push-and-pull and hyper-competitiveness that make guy friendships both complex and stupid. That it comes to life so fully in 21 Jump Street is what gives the film an endearing, punch-you-in-the-arm-because-I-like-you-man charm.
  49. An appealingly wry little film that is as appetizing as its title.
  50. Ejiofor brings a calm magnetism and a beatific serenity to his roles that have the effect of knocking you flat -- there's something about this guy that's messianic.
  51. This ambitious first feature film about the period made entirely by Rwandans (shot in a remarkable 16 days), while hardly an all-inclusive look at this complex conflict, paints a heartfelt, fairly restrained picture of a nation under siege.
  52. It seems to be doing everything right but still doesn't manage to leave you with a completely satisfied feeling.
  53. For all of its cutting cynicism, "Dad" proves unexpectedly moving in its portrait of a middle-aged man leaving childish things behind.
  54. Most of all we see what a coldblooded sport campaigning is, and how desperately the people who are good at it want to win.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    I'd like to think the earnest sentiments and machine-tooled dramatic complications of Wells' script could find a receptive audience in late 2010. I'd like to think, too, that the mess we're in demands a gutsier script. Good cast, though.
  55. Morgen's decision to avoid talking heads recounting events and find a way to dramatize them instead is consistent with his intention for the film. The director wants to bring recent history to life for people who weren't around to witness it, and in that he succeeds pretty admirably.
  56. There is a wonderful natural quality to Jeong's storytelling that is enhanced by cinematographer Young-hwan Choi's graceful camerawork and by a dynamic, contemporary score from M&F.
  57. Not only is the film that good, it's also that wonderfully, inescapably Czech.
  58. A witty and delightful Christmas present for the entire family.
  59. The movie love can make it hard to hear the human pulse beneath the noise (it's there, if faint), much less see if there's anything new going on.
  60. Call this a brooding comedy or a darkly whimsical drama, "Wilbur's" willingness to mix gallows humor and real sadness make it something on which labels do not easily fit.
  61. Though the fun is not so much in who wins or loses the girl - it's the playing that matters, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World definitely has game.
  62. There are moments of beauty here, but not enough to make up for the mannered dialogue and hamstrung performances. Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative won't be prosecuted, but they'll probably be disappointed.
  63. None of the segments are really interested in jump/scare/slasher horror, but rather the slow, creeping terror of feeling something is wrong and something worse is coming, making the film a most frightful Halloween aperitif.
  64. Grossman doesn't step back for a broader, contextualizing view of the Middle East; the film contains a single comment on the 1948 war's ramifications for displaced Palestinians. But as an oral history of the pilots' experiences, it's indispensable.
  65. At one point, Klores thought about making a feature film out of the material, but it's a good thing he decided against it. You could not make this stuff up.
  66. Small scale though it is, this is a film that knows what it wants to do and has thought out exactly how to go about doing it. The same must be said about the luminous nature of Kazan's performance, which won best actress last year at the Tribeca Film Festival.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    If the journey is familiar, at least the company is good.
  67. Knives, explosions and knockabout humor have been added to taste. As vigorously staged as it all is -- sometimes confusingly, occasionally with camera-torqueing flair and impressive stuntwork -- the urge to thrill grows wearisome. Were audience members to be included as a collective character as well, they'd be "The Tired."
  68. There's nothing particularly revelatory about the interviews recorded over a two-month span, but there's an intimate quality that gives the impression you're listening to a private conversation, which, in a sense, you are.
  69. A triumph for all concerned, it is especially so for the multitalented Chereau.
  70. A rare bird indeed -- a disarming, appealingly modest discovery, beautifully shot, nicely performed. Perched on the knife's edge of absurdity, the story at once embraces the large questions (who is the enemy and why) and shrugs them off with a laugh.
  71. It's a classic rags-to-riches-to-rage tale about the fatal nexus of celebrity and market forces, a story that is unexpectedly poignant even though it's told to an insistent punk rock beat.
  72. Frustrating yet deeply watchable melodrama that makes you think it's a tougher picture than it is.
  73. A diabolically adroit piece of filmmaking that goes even further than the films of Italy's excruciatingly macabre Dario Argento.
  74. Surely there is room in the movies for a small film with an unabashed, even old-fashioned but timeless humanist spirit -- and a triumphant portrayal by a veteran star that is likely to be regarded as one of the year's best.
  75. A rip-roaring romantic comedy that's as funny as it is light on its feet.
  76. Though Ze'evi's creative choices don't always serve the material — he unwisely attempts to pump up the emotional volume with an intrusive music score — his compassion for his subjects is clear, and their straightforward testimony is provocative.
  77. It's a display of phenomenal dexterity and nimble grace that's a joy to watch. That, friends, is entertainment.
  78. If anything, the film is a reflection of the Web zeitgeist, where observation comes easily but insight is rare. What saves the documentary from becoming a complete frustration is the sheer, stunning prescience of Harris.
  79. It is the almost accidental way Tina and Chris go about going bad that provides Sightseers with its twisted humor and its unexpected charm.
  80. Solier delivers a performance of ferocious but frustrating reserve.
  81. The problem is that the first half of Infamous is nowhere near as comic as McGrath intends. Instead the picture gives off a tone of arch stylization that plays as artificial, overwrought and off-putting.
  82. For while the idea of comparing the Europe of 60 years ago to the Europe of today sounds didactic, the results are anything but. Ferrario turns out to have a delicate, unforced eye for elegant counterpoints, and his style unobtrusively draws you into the journey.
  83. To see this overly schematic movie, is to be made to feel -- inaccurately as it turns out -- that the whole thing is a hopelessly exaggerated fabrication. The taint of the melodramatic techniques used in key segments infects the entire movie and makes us question the truth of a significant historical reality.
  84. An intense, shattering film, a confident and accomplished, punch-in-the-gut debut by Belgian writer-director Michael R. Roskam that starts out like a thriller and turns into a disturbing tragedy in an unlikely and unexpected key.
  85. This unflinchingly shot picture is not for the squeamish. Epstein and Lake's own commitment to you-are-there realism is remarkable as well, each bringing new meaning to the phrase "naked truth."
  86. In inverse proportion to typically long-winded, inscrutable terms of service, the film is concise, direct and thoroughly engaging.
  87. Landis has acknowledged mental issues in interviews, and it registers so much more on film. The constant scrutiny of a camera seems exploitative and cruel, even if you are at all suspicious when he rationalizes his behavior as childlike mischief.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Much of its strength resides in the way it eschews narrative contrivance. The movie observes behavior without explaining or judging it.
  88. The sweeping, confounding conclusion therefore unfolds with a beauty and an ease that seem truly organic. The Way We Laughed has that feeling of being a work of art.
  89. The Cronenberg trademarks are here in full force, including an outrageous sexual suggestiveness in his bizarre special effects.
  90. On the whole, Chain Camera is encouraging.
  91. Many try but few succeed as well as writer-director Joel Hopkins with his beguiling first feature, Jump Tomorrow, in giving a fresh spin to '30s screwball comedy.
  92. A summer treat for sophisticated moviegoers -- graceful and serious, yet not overly so. This easy-to-take movie gets everything just right and is a pleasure to watch.
  93. Spectacularly grotesque and literally nauseating, even for this usually intrepid moviegoer, In My Skin is among the more disturbing films in this blood-drenched cinematic season.
  94. Alternately satirical and romantic, full of pain and humor, Buffalo '66 is a winner.
  95. Smart and amusing.
  96. For Liar Liar is marking time through the duller moments of exposition, wishing the film was as sharp overall as Carrey is himself.

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