Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,181 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 60% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 37% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 0.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 The Triplets of Belleville
Lowest review score: 0 The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
Score distribution:
7,181 movie reviews
  1. Resourceful writer-director Jim Mickle covers both in his realism-tinged indie Stake Land and shows that a savvy mixture of characterization, atmosphere and gore-eographed suspense can make even the most familiar fright tropes feel vaguely organic again.
  2. In its mix are ethical quandaries in biotechnology, nature versus nurture and an adorable-sexy-disturbing monster. So there's that. But it wins best in show by focusing on one of the weirder relationship triangles in recent memory.
  3. Cheerful, cheeky entertainment, a clever confection.
  4. As warm as it is wise, deftly setting off uproarious humor with an underlying seriousness that sneaks up on the viewer, providing an experience that is richer than anticipated.
  5. Though it's longer and more elaborate than it needs to be, it shares its predecessor's smart but relaxed sense of humor, a sophisticated imagination and the ability to be sharp and playful without being malicious.
  6. The thinking person's caper flick, with its endlessly clever plotting revealing character under the utmost pressure.
  7. Its instinctive, unstoppable cheerfulness can be, as all those millions of viewers have found, something of a tonic if you're in the mood.
  8. As a tale of digital power-tripping both exhilarating and terrifying, We Are Legion stands as a useful 21st century narrative.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    In its best moments is as big as a movie can be, as big as life itself.
  9. Informativeand endearing film.
  10. Has its share of summery charms, including gorgeous postcard views of Santorini, an old-worldy Romeo-Juliet romance, and some particularly good performances by Tamblyn and Boyd.
  11. The gift of Unsettled is that it enables us to feel that we were right there, experiencing the sound and fury for ourselves.
  12. Hoffman is so proficient in this role that he just about overmatches Cruise and makes the wait until he speaks again in the second half of the film hard to endure with any patience.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Those who can surrender to the Quays' poetic logic will find The Piano Tuner to be nothing short of a masterpiece.
  13. Serves as an absorbing snapshot of America's highly influential, reportedly 50-million-strong evangelical Christian movement.
  14. Has an intimate, personal quality. Rather than showboating for the camera, the soldiers get to a deeper level, conveying a surprisingly reflective and aware sensibility.
  15. The result is an insightful look at a remarkable behind-the-scenes life and slice of American and Hollywood history. Told from an outsider's perspective, it sheds light on the workings of a glamorous but often treacherous business.
  16. An ambitious and largely successful documentary testimony-tribute to the founders of the so-called Beat movement.
  17. With its lovely images of wintertime Paris and its lyrical Michel Legrand music, La Bu^che does take the cake.
  18. Robot Stories isn't any good. I don't say this lightly. There's no pleasure in giving new directors bad reviews and it's especially unpleasant when what's wrong with their work isn't a clumsy performance or two, a sagging second act or a repugnant worldview, but a near-total absence of filmmaking talent.
  19. A small movie with some big moments and a lot of unfinished business.
  20. He (director Mark Waters) keeps the story light and bright, and he brings out real comic performances from his cast, including newcomer Seyfried, who plays her ditz with Judy Holliday charm.
  21. The film itself is playful, weird, unpredictable and a bit tasteless. [10 Apr 1992]
  22. Directed by Alan Rudolph and co-scripted by him with Randy Sue Coburn, Mrs. Parker is a real odd duck of a movie. It seems to have been made both as tribute and put-down. The sporty conviviality of the Algonquin Round Table is celebrated, and yet there's a hollowness to the confabs.[21 Dec 1994, p.4]
  23. The result is that "Spider-Man" goes in and out of focus. This is a film that is memorable in pieces but not as a whole.
  24. What helps offset the predictable in this very predictable movie is a series of show-stopping numbers, so props to the folks who oversaw music and choreography. But the true saving grace is a few of the central players.
  25. The film ultimately is more practical than profound, a slightly smartened-up "Dummy's Guide to Green Living," which, as you learn, most of us probably know a good deal less about than we imagine.
  26. The surprisingly adept mixture of tones — naturalism, dysfunctional family satire, winking slasher nostalgia, twisty vengeance thriller — is offbeat enough to keep even hardened connoisseurs of body-count entertainment on their toes.
  27. There's an urgency about "Star Trek VI" that comes from its deliberate topicality. [6 Dec. 1991, p.F1]
  28. A thoughtful, provocative exploration of the ways poets have dealt with the experience of battle throughout history.
  29. An unusually intelligent cut at the relationship game.
  30. Catfish was built to charm, not indict, and on that front it makes for a diverting seriocomic wade into the pitfalls of Internet-based immediacy, and by extension, the manipulative mysteries of documentary assemblage.
  31. Slick, adrenaline-fueled fun.
  32. The movie's clatter and whiz-bang suggests more humor than there actually is.
  33. Ends up more challenging and intriguing than personally involving, and while these are far from small things, it is only human to hope for more.
  34. Known for an elegant visual style, Jarmusch has a great gift for playing actors against one another, for finding complementary eccentrics (Murray and RZA) and uncovering rare gems (Bill Rice and Taylor Mead in "Champagne").
  35. Lively, incisive and comprehensive documentary.
  36. Detailed and intensely researched documentary.
  37. Exquisite yet harrowing.
  38. An affectionate tribute to the drag artist who has been a Manhattan institution for more than 20 years.
  39. The appeal of the cast, the witty dialogue, the gorgeous costumes and production design, and the refreshingly grown-up subject matter can't be discounted. Maybe it is about compromise, after all, because though Married Life has its moments, it's bewildering as a whole.
  40. An emotionally rich and satisfying drama featuring a terrifically understated performance from John Cusack.
  41. What raises this film to a more interesting level is that in addition to the food, each segment presents a personal drama that extends beyond the table.
  42. An enjoyable celebratory ode to a fiercely entertaining counterculture-inspired genre.
  43. A deeply satisfying feat of storytelling, Bless Me, Ultima makes a difficult task look easy. It combines innocence and experience, the darkness and wonder of life, in a way that is not easy to categorize but a rich pleasure to watch.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Enjoyably recounts how, in 1967, Romero and an assortment of Pittsburgh locals shot a micro-budget chiller that would unexpectedly change the face of horror films.
  44. The acting is serviceable and primarily of the stare-until-you're-uncomfortable variety, although Rampling is much more than that: She's a classic screen temptress with the aura of a melancholy spider.
  45. Selena is in part a completely predictable Latino soap opera that should satisfy those who complain they aren't making movies like they like used to.
  46. For an exquisitely melancholy story steeped in a sense of the past as a succession of great waves of political, ideological and economic change, it's fitting that the movie should end with an underwater sequence. It looks like a dream of a memory of a place about to be wiped out by the next great flood of history.
  47. More concerned, and with good reason, with the opera's extravagant visual look. The gorgeous pageantry of sets and costumes is frankly dazzling.
  48. An accomplished film that continually takes us beyond our first impressions of people and situations.
  49. Has the virtue of sincerity but not that of restraint. Unlike Terrence Malick, whose shadow looms over the film's visual style, the Smiths over-explain, not grasping that all those barren fields and blood-red clouds are doing plenty of work for them.
  50. A most ambitious first film. Dominik pulls it off impressively, assisted by a selfless cast, a driving score by Mick Harvey, and gifted cameramen Kevin Hayward and Geoffrey Hall.
  51. Somehow, Hoffman makes all this hypnotically interesting, and, through impeccable timing, sometimes terribly funny--a sweet humor which never betrays Raymond's unalterable character. [16 Dec 1988]
  52. The film is especially strong in its second half, which is dominated by contemporary footage of Zinn.
  53. Despite involved acting and Nichols' impeccable professionalism as a director, the end result is, to quote one of the characters, "a bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully."
  54. Memorable and significant.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A pretty engaging tale, and it's refreshing to see a well-acted, suspenseful drama made without a bloated budget or a lot of bloodletting.
  55. Dzi Croquettes is both a tribute and a terrific entertainment.
  56. Any caseworking suspense is drowned out by an over-abundance of visual pizazz: disjointed shootouts, arbitrary camera angles and cinematography that draws the eye to lighting patterns, not people.
  57. The provocative noir experience that Talaash promises, with its jazzily scored, moodily lighted opening montage of a Mumbai red-light district at night, is nowhere to be found once this meandering mystery begins.
  58. A unique, unsettling experience.
  59. The characters in this somber film have the glum look of individuals delivering a Very Important Message to the world. And though this film in fact does have something crucial to convey, this is not the way to go about it.
  60. Though Bottle Rocket is wryly amusing from beginning to end, the hard edges of the real world are never too far from its surface. And it is the particular grace of the film that though all its characters end up with something like what they're looking for, its not exactly how they'd imagined it would be.
  61. Bristling with dangers both corporeal and cerebral, The Debt is a superbly crafted espionage thriller packed with Israeli-Nazi score settling.
  62. If anything is missing from this inspiring film, it is a deeper examination of why, given how common-sensical these approaches are, so few other schools have been able to accomplish what Providence St. Mel's has.
  63. Too serious to be an out-and-out comedy, too funny not to be one, My Best Friend is a lot easier to enjoy than to classify.
  64. A rich sense of the dawning of gay liberation.
  65. Because it is so old-school Hollywood, with a weakness for standard moments and pat situations, The Great Debaters initially comes off as easily dismissible. Largely saving it from that fate is the presence and ability of Denzel Washington, who costars with Forest Whitaker and directs from Robert Eisele's script.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    The story becomes more ridiculous as it escalates, the film's over-determined ecological focus undermining any real horror movie tension. Levinson's casting choices are off-the-mark as well - star Kether Donohue is just plain bad.
  66. Spritely, tender and unpredictable.
  67. A treat to experience visually (especially in lively 3-D) and verbally, Puss in Boots is a family film where the adventure and invention never flag and the tongue-in-cheek humor doesn't linger far behind.
  68. One of the least sensationalistic--and therefore, more unsettlingly plausible--visions of prison life ever transfigured into big-screen drama.
  69. A splendid instance of a surrealist vision that serves to heighten the impact of genuine emotions experienced by believably real people.
  70. A delicious pitch-dark Icelandic comedy centering on a femme fatale so enigmatic it brings into question just how fatale she may actually be.
  71. Robert Redford, who for the first time stars in a movie he's also directed, has taken this soap opera material and treated it like something inscribed on yak vellum by the Dalai Lama.
  72. Dazzling and dizzying, confusing and even annoying, Velvet Goldmine is a feverish dream of a film, a riot of color and attitude that is all pop decadence, all night long.
  73. The filmmakers have brought such breadth and depth to the material. Everyone counts in this film, not just Julia Lambert.
  74. A stirring snapshot of America from 1963 to 1968 and the many rock 'n' roll thrills, cultural and political watersheds, and whirling emotions that erupted in between. It's also deviously smart and darkly funny.
  75. In his illuminating, timelessly timely Sex Positive documentary, Daryl Wein calls attention both to unjustly neglected pioneering AIDS activist Richard Berkowitz and his still widely ignored groundbreaking promotion of safe sex.
  76. Jindabyne's strength and power come from a number of factors: its origin, its current landscape and the unusual way its writer-director, Ray Lawrence, has chosen to work.
  77. A slick package all around. Adroitly edited, filled with fine music like Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman" and more people flashing needles than at a garment worker's convention, this film is less a dispassionate examination than a celebratory infomercial on its central character.
  78. Even at a meager 40 minutes, the film feels padded... But so long as the jubilance brought about by lemurs can compel more protection for the near-extinct species, the film will have served its purpose.
  79. Alexander Sokurov's Faust is a grueling side show of a film, a morbid, mightily uninvolving piece.
  80. A mildly successful attempt at updating a relic, its appeal depends greatly on an audience's willingness to go along for a familiar ride. [17Nov1995 Pg. F.01]
  81. It's the candid moments of joy and accomplishment -- Welcker finding out she's an Intel contest finalist, Khan learning he's been accepted to Yale, high school valedictorian Cisneros thanking her devoted parents in her graduation speech -- that really make this one soar.
  82. As gut-punch storytelling, Viva Riva! delivers much, not the least of which is the promise of an exciting new filmmaking talent.
  83. Without the ability to move off the mythic, without the emotional texture that "Heat" created, it is a film easier to admire than to get passionately involved with.
  84. In general, the movie doesn't necessarily reveal anything we don't already know but delivers it in a personable, entertaining manner.
  85. If the segments are uneven, Moncrieff -- with the help of her excellent cast -- nevertheless crafts a gripping overall narrative that exposes a shared dissonance among the protagonists.
  86. Kazemy and Boosheri are excellent, and Soheil Parsa and Nasrin Pakkho are also fine as Atefeh's doting, liberal parents. And if Keshavarz is less successful managing the film's sometimes choppy narrative, she is clearly willing to take risks on all fronts. More power to her.
  87. Ali
    Whatever the reason, the energy and hold-onto-your-seat excitement that Muhammad Ali brought to the sports world is oddly absent from this quite accomplished but finally distant film.
  88. The skill involved holds us in our seats, the project's inability to transcend its built-in limitations keep it from achieving the kind of overarching impact it is after.
  89. Carefully crafted, notably in its deft dramatic structuring, and has become timely in a way its maker could never have anticipated.
  90. A triumph of stylish, darkly absurdist horror that even manages to strike a chord of Shakespearean tragedy - and evokes a sense of wonder anew at all the terrible things people do to themselves and each other.
  91. As unusual and idiosyncratic as its one-of-a-kind title. You'd expect no less from Terry Gilliam, and admirers of this singular filmmaker will be pleased to know that "Imaginarium" is one of his most original and accessible works.
  92. Rueful, funny and wise, The Salt of Life is a comedy not of errors but of the tiniest of missteps. A warm yet melancholy film of quiet yet inescapable charm, it has a feeling for character and personality that couldn't be more delicious.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Skipping from one story to another and scrambling their relative chronologies, Drama/Mex presents a flashy package, but that only reveals the paucity of its ideas.
  93. The problem with The Runaways is that they went with the wrong girl.
  94. This most observant and involving film has three strengths: It shows that a strongly family-oriented, middle-class suburbia is initially hardly idyllic for gays; the arrival of Patrik reveals fissures in Sven and Goran's relationship; and that Lemhagen, who plays against predictability at every turn, maintains suspense right up to the final minutes as to how everything may turn out for the three.

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