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. A work of art whose beauty has the eternal power of redemption.
  2. As for the so-called "food compositions" seen here, like the film itself, they're more impressionistic and artistic than enticing. For a far more satisfying cinematic meal, check out the similarly themed "Jiro Dreams of Sushi."
  3. Unexpectedly involving documentary.
  4. Like the Coen brothers at their least convincing, the mix of low-grade depression and amped quirkiness never shakes off the feel of self-conscious posturing.
  5. A film that's always on the move, a smart, lively, thoroughly involving doc about a complex, critical subject.
  6. As Bhutto, the thorough and involving documentary on her life conveys, Benazir was a formidable personality all by herself.
  7. It is a singular performance and a deeply affecting if imperfect film.
  8. Though this artful film inches toward its not-unpredictable conclusion and could logically have ended several times before its final fadeout, I was sorry when it was over. How rare is that?
  9. Shanley seems to have lost a certain amount of faith in what he'd written. As a director he's ended up pushing the drama harder than he needs to. He hasn't done anything fatal, but he has tampered with and hampered it.
  10. The film's bigger problem is that after a certain point the way in which Evans allows DeNoble to narrate his own story comes to feel self-congratulatory and makes Addiction Incorporated seem a bit more like an advertisement or an endorsement than an investigation or exploration.
  11. Never tries to confuse our loyalties or question the strategies of our hero or bring home the all-embracing soul-destroying horrors of war for all sides. Braveheart may be rip-roaring, but it isn't all that brave.
  12. At once desperately grim and unnervingly gripping, providing an exacting sense of the detail and procedure that went into death by hanging.
  13. Between the writing, acting, directing and the rest, it works. Not crazy, not stupid, and filled with love. Period.
  14. [An] engaging portrait of a complicated but vivid sports figure.
  15. A visceral story of beat cops that is rare in its sensitivity, rash in its violence and raw in its humor.
  16. Numerous good things can be said about Apocalypto, the director's foray into the decaying Mayan civilization of the early 1500s, but every last one of them is overshadowed by Gibson's well-established penchant for depictions of stupendous amounts of violence.
  17. Blithe, reasonably witty, with as many story twists as a Riviera roadway, its greatest assets are its glorious look and Michael Caine, his hair full of Dippety-Doo, his heart full of larceny. [14 Dec 1988, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  18. Helping to keep this ship from keeling over is the great professionalism and light touch of Deneuve and Depardieu. Costars numerous times, they go together as comfortably as an old pair of gloves. Potiche very much counts on this, and it has not miscalculated.
  19. Birot is an engaging storyteller who can inspire luminous, spontaneous portrayals, but her ending is so drastic that it feels unearned, a note of bleakness struck merely for its own sake.
  20. It is a bravura work that attests to Pineyro's command of a style rich in texture and nuance and also of multilayered material.
  21. Boldly structured, intensely focused and briskly paced, Alice and Martin has a tremendous emotional density that places the utmost demands upon its actors--and asks a lot of audiences, too.
  22. Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be paid to the rush of raw excitement "Twister" creates is that it makes it possible to ignore the painful awkwardness of the film's expository sequences and thudding dialogue of the "OK, boss lady, hold your horses" variety.
  23. Think of The Adventures of Tintin as a song of innocence and experience, able to combine a sweet sense of childlike wonder and pureness of heart with the most worldly and sophisticated of modern technology. More than anything, it's just a whole lot of fun.
  24. While major stars thrust together on screen often end up undercutting each other, one of the pleasures of Becket is how easily and generously these two commanding actors play off each other, each allowing the other the space to make the most of their individual roles.
  25. Based on the real-life exploits of Munro, it's a boilerplate fish-out-of-water/road trip/underdog sports movie -- but it's a heck of a ride with Hopkins leading the way.
  26. The filmmakers vividly illustrate the power and depth of the long-spiraling problem of "food insecurity" by immersing us in the hardscrabble lives of a cross section of our nation's poor.
  27. Less than the sum of its parts. The connective tissue of its episodes and set pieces -- some of which pack a memorable punch -- is not a compelling story line but the painterly physicality of the movie's stop-motion animation.
  28. It's hard to say if the two ever really mesh or if they were intended to. Here seems motivated by a tone of searching and yearning, not of finding a single way.
  29. The film's difficulties are in the roiling emotions that run through it. Intimacy and the interdependence required to survive a harsh environment are more easily achieved. Swank and Jones, in particular, are a very good odd couple, playing saint and sinner, sometimes reversing the roles.
  30. The result is a career milestone [for Hal Hartley] and a film that could become a landmark in American independent cinema.
  31. It's a domestic horror story that literally gets to us where we live, a disturbing tale told with uncompromising emotionality and great skill by filmmaker Lynne Ramsay.
  32. Succeeds best when it intensifies its focus on the work and life of its main subject, seen in interviews, home movies and in a climactic performance with Bono and the Edge on "Tower of Song."
  33. If Watermark does nothing else, it will make you question society's contradictory view of water use.
  34. For the most part, The East is a dizzying cat and mouse game with all sorts of moral implications.
  35. Has a return-to-innocence sweetness that recalls some of the work of another of its executive producers - Steven Spielberg. Kids may grow up too fast today to embrace the film's familiar message of the virtues of an unhurried adolescence, but it's nice to be reminded of the possibility.
  36. Although Born Romantic is sweetly intentioned and staunchly on the side of love, it meanders long to enough to alienate whatever affection it otherwise earns.
  37. An affectionate documentary about a free-spirited group.
  38. An infectious knockabout kung fu comedy with amusing special effects combined with breathtaking stunts.
  39. Funny but not a comedy, serious but never overbearing, emotional in an engaging and bittersweet way, Good Bye, Lenin! is a wonderful film unto itself about a world unto itself.
  40. An impeccably made bleak comedy with an exactly calibrated, almost musical sense of timing, Nói is singular enough to have swept the Eddas, the Icelandic Academy Awards.
  41. A sweet, funny and gripping romantic adventure, it's about the limitations of political activism in this day and age, and what happens when your girlfriend and your best friend fall in love.
  42. Positioned as somewhere in between the eggheady activism of Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" and the anger of Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke," the new Imax film Hurricane on the Bayou examines the effect of Katrina on the famed bayou-country wetlands of Louisiana.
  43. Nicolo Donato's bleak yet compelling Brotherhood, an unsparing neo-noir with the structure and inevitability of classic drama.
  44. Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny nonetheless serves as an informative look back at one of the 20th century's most celebrated figures. (Nov 4, 2010)
    • Los Angeles Times
  45. Tian-Hao Hua's documentary distinguishes itself not with false suspense but tremendous poignancy and humor, much of which come from the riders' varied histories and motivations for revving up their bikes.
  46. Unfortunately, Dylan Mohan Gray's slow and steady exposé never quite manages the propulsive gut punch its incendiary subject demands.
  47. Witnessing him defy long odds, gravity and death is a thrill; even the uninitiated should find his unresolved father complex of interest.
  48. The great achievement in writer-director Jono Oliver's poignant, superb debut, Home, lies in the balance between the film's empathy for those like Jack who seek independence and its compassion for others who may need care indefinitely.
  49. [An] absorbing, well-crafted documentary.
  50. For wannabe, seasoned pro and curious observer alike, these tales from the creative front lines are, like good TV, as insightful as they are entertaining.
  51. The profoundly sensitive, often wryly funny look at friendship, romance, sexual attraction and gender identity carries themes and dynamics that feel as timeless as they do up-to-the-minute.
  52. Sewell and Giamatti ham it up as the imperious pretender to the throne and his ambitious but conflicted minion in this uncheesy but entertainingly tricky mystery. There's more heat between the two of them than between the sappy lovers.
  53. Moving performances from Una Noche's charismatic non-pro cast, Mulloy's keen eye for visual detail and stunning cinematography by Trevor Forrest and Shlomo Godder of Cuba's turquoise water exploding against the sea wall offer a compelling portrait.
  54. The new live-action rendering of E.B. White's perennial children's favorite, Charlotte's Web, is so carefully spun that it's lifeless.
  55. An apocalyptic documentary that is as beautiful as it is damning.
  56. The movie does have its flashes of genius. "Home for Purim," the movie, is set in the Deep South, where Yiddish is spoken with a drawl.
  57. Unfolds in the satisfying fashion of classic Hollywood movies that strike a balance between grit and heart.
  58. The comic pizazz and bawdy dazzle of this film's vision of gaudy drag performers trekking across the Australian outback certainly has a boisterous, addictive way about it. [10 Aug 1994]
    • Los Angeles Times
  59. With its harrowing restraint, Compliance is potent filmmaking that's not easily forgotten.
  60. Offers a riveting depiction of the classic collision of fate and character, with geography in this instance playing a crucial role.
  61. Too lethargic and strung-out for its own good. Thankfully, it casts a pleasant, amusing and touching spell anyway, but more energy and a markedly shorter running time might have turned a sunny diversion into something more special.
  62. British actress Jane Horrocks plays Little Voice, and it is a transfixing, tour de force performance.
  63. A handsome work of authoritative yet understated style, responsive to mood, subtleties and nuance in exploring its especially well-drawn and intelligent lovers.
  64. Doesn't have the courage of its conceit, only an abundance of bad ideas and worse taste.
  65. This is an entertainment that really entertains because any number of interesting and unexpected choices were made, starting with the selection of Doug Liman as the director.
  66. Powered by an excellent Kurt Russell performance, Miracle treats old-fashioned, emotional material with an intelligence that respects both the story and the audience.
  67. Not long into this most exhilarating and enjoyable of movies, it becomes reminiscent of such vintage jewels as Carol Reed's simultaneously thrilling and amusing "Night Train to Munich."
  68. Somehow it is the waiting - for the fall that you expect is coming, for the marriage you figure will fall apart - that makes Take This Waltz one to make room for on your dance card.
  69. Bears has warmth and fuzziness in spades, especially when the lot of them snoozes on logs. Amid its heaping serving of cuddliness, though, the film doesn't sugarcoat the harsh reality and unforgiving elements with which the bears have to contend.
  70. It takes a rugged survivalist mentality to sit through 108 minutes of Off the Map, a self-consciously loopy and mystical drama about a family that lives off the map, off the grid, off the land and mostly off their meds in the mangy desert of New Mexico.
  71. Effervescent, unflappable, supremely pleased with herself, Cher (delightfully played by the much-publicized Alicia Silverstone) is the comic centerpiece of Clueless, a wickedly funny teen-age farce from writer-director Amy Heckerling that, like its heroine, turns out to have more to it than anyone could anticipate. [19 July 1995]
    • Los Angeles Times
  72. More elaborate than the original, but just as shrewdly put together, it cleverly combines the most successful elements of its predecessor with a number of new twists (would you believe a kinder, gentler Terminator?) to produce on e hell of a wild ride, a Twilight of the Gods that takes no prisoners and leaves audiences desperate for mercy. [3 July 1991, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  73. Land Ho! is full of surprises, rich in the way it noses around the rocky terrain of aging in an indifferent world through the engaging performances of its two stars.
  74. While Europa Report does quite well dramatically without breaking any new ground, its great strength is how striking it is visually and the stratagems it employs to make itself memorable.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Pain, poetry and perseverance form the backbone of Mark Becker's compassionate, well-observed documentary.
  75. As the filmmaker unfurls the harsh, essential facts, both past and present, about America's complex relationship with drugs — along with tobacco and alcohol's longtime place in the equation — the movie gains serious power and momentum.
  76. A smart, well-paced documentary that balances the man's triumphs with his rare failures and discerningly explores the darker side of his power.
  77. Humor, sentiment and melodrama strike a balance as he brings to life nine major characters and a host of others as well.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    There may be no young actress today better at embodying a blend of wounded innocence and stoic pride than Sarah Polley. In The Secret Life of Words, she has a part worthy of her gifts.
  78. Despite what seem like the trappings of a Lifetime movie, writer-director Claudia Myers presents us with an unflinching and complex character study of an imperfect woman.
  79. A serious and thoughtful documentary.
  80. Statistical evidence could have strengthened the film's anecdotal argument. But in Nadya's anticipation and Ashley's depressive, disingenuous soul searching, Girl Model captures something beyond hard facts: portraits of delusion, innocent and practiced.
  81. It's a B movie made with A-student love for the relentless thrill of bodies in brutal motion.
  82. Authenticity gives the movie its witty, heartwarming, hopeful, sentimental, searing and relatable edge. It is merciless in probing the tender spots of times like these, and tough-guy sweet in patching up the wounds.
  83. If this all sounds fairly rote, it's far from it. That's because the filmmaker largely eschews done-to-death family dynamics, forced obstacles and predictable responses for authentic interaction, organic humor and a hopeful vitality.
  84. Made with the on-camera cooperation of Spitzer (though not his wife), it is a sad, disturbing and in some ways tragic tale that in its lurid combination of sex and politics, banal hypocrisy and bare-knuckles power, seems very much an American story of our times.
  85. It is a striking and moving study of "what was" versus "what it has become" as the filmmakers try to get at the whys.
  86. The long line of recent muckraking documentaries that has preceded Why We Fight does nothing to diminish its force.
  87. Though the narrative could use more depth and detail, the film generally absorbs with its strong performances, stirring emotions and vivid imagery.
  88. If you can't place the name, or want to know more, Anita is a splendid place to start.
  89. Down Terrace is long on talk but generates its own internal rhythms and pace that makes it feel bracing and vibrantly alive.
  90. The spectacular combination of slapstick, love story and superhero antics doesn't entirely avoid awkwardness, but mostly it defies gravity, like many of the stunts.
  91. McNaughton shows some signs of directing rust in pacing and tone, but in much the way "Henry" played out, he keeps sensationalism at bay and twisted character drama in his sights, which makes for a more pleasurably icky suspense.
  92. Smart, fun and thoroughly enjoyable, it's a model summer diversion that entertains without insulting your intelligence.
  93. A wonder several times over.
  94. A warm and affectionate Argentine film of wide appeal that is an Academy Award nominee in the foreign-language category.
  95. For the most part, this unblinking family drama packs a visceral punch. Thomas' journey toward acceptance is blessedly free of noble lessons and filled with real people.
  96. Only half as clever as it thinks and even less entertaining.
  97. The result is an exquisitely calibrated hypermodern comedy of manners. A quiet but devastating ensemble piece, both acerbic and sweet, "Friends" blends empathy and a great sense of comic timing with the richness of Holofcener's trademark take-no-prisoners observations.
  98. A fascinating and surprisingly involving film.

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