Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 9,917 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 57% higher than the average critic
  • 5% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Chasing Amy
Lowest review score: 0 Lethal Weapon 4
Score distribution:
9917 movie reviews
  1. Sadly the film is so elusive, so distant, that it never seems more than half-alive.
  2. A baroque, bloody fantasy-adventure that stubbornly remains less than the sum of its parts.
  3. Even fairy tales could use a bit more substance than this.
  4. What makes Comedian more than just another documentary about the comedy club comeback of a sitcom prince is that it contrasts his struggle with that of just another stand-up climber, Orny Adams.
  5. What the movie lacks, alarmingly, is a shriveled black heart, or a big, red tell-tale one pulsing beneath the floorboards -- anything, really, that might infuse it with the sense of true dread that keeps kids coming back for second, third and 11th helpings of the willies.
  6. The central drama never fully engages, but the jolts that Banshee delivers are check-the-locks scary.
  7. Roseanne for President can’t quite decide what it wants to be: a political farce underlined with John Philip Sousa-esque military marches, a deep dive into the electoral workings of various third parties like the Green Party and the Peace and Freedom Party or an intimate portrait of a fascinating, wild and influential cultural icon. It’s all of these things and therefore not quite enough of each of them.
  8. Ultimately Mackenzie's tidy resolutions undercut the psychological depth, but as offbeat coming-of-age yarns go, Mister Foe has a commanding fleetness.
  9. If a concept is to sustain itself over a multipart story, it must make an emotional connection, and this "Reloaded," especially with stars cast for their lack of affect and affinity for blankness, cannot do that.
  10. The Hawkins brothers have an envelopingly moody visual style that strives for offbeat touches, at times easily conjuring the existential threat in desolate areas. But that can't make up for the story deficiencies and character superficiality in the script.
  11. In practice this mélange of imagery is aimed more at the inside of Reggio's head than anywhere else. Unless you are able to get on his quasi-experimental wavelength, a dicey proposition at best, Visitors will miss your solar plexus entirely and instead put you right to sleep. With one exception.
  12. Dazzling in its possibilities, but the holiday message of the 37-minute Santa vs. the Snowman leaves a lot to be desired.
  13. Does have its pleasures, but the feeling is inescapable that the person most pleased is Bertolucci himself. In essence he is the dreamer of the title, as eager to retreat into this hermetic world of his own creation as his characters are into theirs. Fair enough, but why does he have to drag us along with him?
  14. It's no great surprise that after a tough beginning, Saved! soon starts to sound a lot like the inspirational TV movie (with Valerie Bertinelli).
  15. A charming supporting cast fails to invigorate Goodbye to All That, a relentlessly flat seriocomic take on contemporary relationships.
  16. Weighed down with gimmicks and special effects, a number of which are far from special, Sky High is best left to 10- to 14-year-olds because it's not likely to do much for older audiences and is too violent for the very young.
  17. As always, Berman and Pulcini suffuse their movie with a let's-try-anything spirit — and liberate most of their actors. What keeps Ten Thousand Saints from being another "American Splendor" (2003) or "Cinema Verite" (2011) is that this time, their tapestry has a hole in the center, where their pale antihero cannot pull the colorful threads together.
  18. 5x2
    Bruni-Tedeschi is a lovely actress, and whatever emotion is evident onscreen comes courtesy of her.
  19. In many ways, "Engagement" reflects both the best and worst of Stoller and Segel's creative collaborations.
  20. The cast does what it can with — and clearly self-improves upon — the essentially thin, at times choppy material.
  21. For all its good intentions, for the thrillingly staged moments in the film's first quarter-for all the sweeping movement of thousands of people streaming through the streets of Shanghai-and for all its not-inconsiderable craft, the film's grave problem is a lack of central heating: We don't have a single character to warm up to.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The movie's not without charm -- the creature effects are fun and the mix of vampires, zombies (et al) is amusing. That's not enough to save it from the Curse of the Predictable Plot Twist and the Blight of the Creeping Shadows.
  22. For those fans who don't mind enduring some tedium and confusion, Yakuza Apocalypse at least offers something memorably bizarre.
  23. Though the thin mystery at the center becomes a narrative albatross, and Lillard and Gugino seem hamstrung by the schematic nature of their characters, Stewart's melancholic electricity manages to maintain its appeal.
  24. Koutras admirably resists easy wish fulfillment by making the brothers' journey more important than their destination, but the scenario he presents inexplicably turns out to be fantasy.
  25. A charming mess with moments of hilarity.
  26. Ambitious, sometimes clever but largely sputtering, The Mafia Kills Only in Summer works better as a childhood memory piece than as an adult tale of love and larceny.
  27. Labyrinth of Lies too often feels like machine-stamped issue cinema from a moldy Hollywood playbook.
  28. Though Girls Rock! is nothing if not well meaning, it doesn't always feel like the best possible film on the subject.
  29. Dark Star might have been more fascinating had Sallin delved deeper into his place as an artist.
  30. Bug
    Creepy and unsettling, to say nothing of gory, but overall it's a little claustrophobic and uneven.
  31. Stone covers territory all too familiar to most Americans old enough to remember the JFK assassination.
  32. Those who enjoy the old-fashioned Hollywood pleasure of seeing divergent threads neatly pulled together will be more than satisfied.
  33. Too much of the film is not inspired enough in its humor to overcome the queasy feeling that comes from watching a comedy-adventure involving Jews during the Holocaust.
  34. It would be foolish to deny that Unbreakable has scenes that make you jump, but without anything resonant to apply that skill to, the film has no option except squandering its technique.
  35. All told, this is going to make passable television. Eventually.
  36. A deadly earnest drama tripped up by clumsy plotting and unintentional bursts of humor.
  37. The film's plot...is more contrived than creditable, motivations are not always clear, and some characters, for instance Kiefer Sutherland as a praise the lord and pass the ammunition Marine, are not very convincingly acted. [11 Dec 1992]
    • Los Angeles Times
  38. What this is remains mysterious after a single viewing, but not so mysterious as to inspire a second.
  39. Warriors is a bruising, relentless experience, one more tiring than inspiring.
  40. Ironically this big, lumbering movie could have used more, not less. More Godzilla without question, and more emotional content for its very good cast too.
  41. Intent as it is on being both artistically and politically involving, The Great Water periodically miscalculates its effects, coming on stronger than it intends.
  42. But the climax of "Close Encounters" was breathtaking and the climax of The Abyss is downright embarrassing; in the light of day, its payoff effect looks like a glazed ceramic what's-it your 11-year-old made in crafts class. It's criminal. [9 Aug 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  43. Fascinating as it may be, the film could have used outside perspectives to provide more context.
  44. Too much of the film prioritizes the DJ’s problematic personal life over what made him famous. AM’s fans should get a lot out of the doc, but casual music-lovers may wish Kerslake would just get back to the party.
  45. It's too bad that Bühler and Mariani take Kirk's tall tale at face value instead of doing their own investigative work and tracking down other characters for interviews.
  46. Even though as a whole Hello I Must Be Going lets us down in the second half, the pleasure of watching Lynskey and Abbott never diminishes.
  47. Until the thought-provoking, from-left-field twist ending, We Are the Flesh mostly seems like a series of sick tableaux, dredged up from the director’s subconscious and then splattered across the screen. But there’s genuine artistry even to this film’s most exploitative moments.
  48. Like the relationship she has chosen to dissect, the film is promising, disappointing, touching or frustrating, depending on the moment.
  49. It's no surprise that Imamura has directed the best film in September 11, which is doubtless why the producer saved it for last.
  50. A mostly enjoyable wave of nostalgia.
  51. The film is at its best when it's just Brody stuck in the car.
  52. The audience's response to The Prophet is likely to be determined by their feelings for the original book rather than the eclectic, imaginative visuals.
  53. You can see the years of effort, the polish and precision that went into creating The Boxtrolls... But somehow it still doesn't add up to enough.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Zippy if forgettable, Meet the Robinsons keeps the tone mildly tongue-in-cheek and ends on a dutifully inspirational note.
  54. Where “The Raid” films used a thin story to efficiently showcase the rapid-fire lethality of silat, Headshot attempts to wrangle an emotional back story into the proceedings, which is a hard combination to stomach when the characters are brutally beating one another senseless.
  55. This is a chance to see Shakespeare with mud wrestling, something the Bard surely would have put in if only he'd thought of it himself… Though the actors have no major problems handling the language, the whole venture is listless when it should be sparkling. Shakespeare, even with mud wrestling, needn't be quite so much of a slog. [14 May 1999, Calendar, p.F-6]
    • Los Angeles Times
  56. Edmond does, on the surface, seem very much a contemporary tale of urban terror. Yet despite the best efforts of all concerned, what seemed explosive and provocative two decades ago now comes across as schematic and artificial.
  57. Two Lovers and a Bear is above all thrillingly cinematic, even when its elements of lived-in intensity and jokey fantasy refuse to coalesce.
  58. The film falls short of delivering the outrage and uplift that should have come easy for this true-life fight against justice denied. Unfortunately, that makes Conviction more a trial than a triumph.
  59. The actors give their characters a resonance beyond the symbolic, but the action doesn't quite transcend the stagy setup.
  60. Brick Lane has been whittled down from Monica Ali's expansive 2003 novel into a glossy but overly efficient drama that, like Nazneen's husband, is ultimately too ineffectual to make much of a dent.
  61. The largely engaging class-reunion dramedy 10 Years allows audiences to pretend they went to high school with the likes of Channing Tatum, Justin Long, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Mackie and Kate Mara.
  62. Revenge may be sweet, but this is one "Monte Cristo" that leaves a sour taste.
  63. Movies about male friendship are often trivialized with the "buddy" tag, but this one resonates beyond that.
  64. With so many sight gags and nearly every living comic in the world making an appearance at some point, the entire operation, like Ron's ego, feels a bit bloated.
  65. Bad as the overall design remains, individual scenes keep sparking alive, partly because the dialogue, or delivery, seems fresh, and improvisatory; partly because Van Peebles, in his directorial debut, figures out unusual or athletic camera designs for every scene. It's obvious he has talent, equally obvious there's no way this story can work right, no matter how strenuous the staging.
  66. The feature spikes its lonesome mood with shots of dry humor, animated sequences and flashbacks — at times overplaying its hand, even as Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff wordlessly convey all that needs to be said.
  67. If the pacing flags a bit en route, enough vivid imagery remains to hold interest, with Solomonov proving a smart, appealing and personally invested guide.
  68. Lonergan has created a forceful yet extremely fitful film that teases with moments of brilliance only to frustrate in the end. Margaret is an unrealized dream, one you wish he'd gotten as right as his 2000 debut, "You Can Count on Me."
  69. Two things to keep in mind when considering Barrymore, starring Christopher Plummer as the great John B: It was brilliant as a one-man stage show; it was never a good candidate for film.
  70. Moves with the suffocating deliberateness of a river of molasses.
  71. This is a film without a center, a film whose young protagonist should have more texture, more of a compelling voice than she does. Through no real fault of the acting, young Astrid does not compel our attention the way she must if White Oleander is to succeed completely on the screen.
  72. Everything in Matchstick Men moves and looks right, from John Mathieson's cinematography to Tom Foden's production design, so it's puzzling that the film fizzles rather than fizzes.
  73. The To Do List is neither supergood nor superbad, but passable doesn't exactly raise the bar.
  74. The Sense of an Ending, despite its polished construction and immaculate pedigree, doesn’t ultimately mean as much as it thinks it does.
  75. Danny Elfman's intense score contributes crucial energy, John Thomas' camera work is first-rate, but the ambitious Freeway ends up merely trashy.
  76. The other, unintentional lesson taught here is that it's easier to make a mouse talk than to come up with something interesting for him to say.
  77. (Hayek's) performance is far from a disgrace, but it lacks gravitas and soul, a sense of passionate purpose, a hint of obsession. The best Hayek can do with her lovely face is cloud it with worry, but the face of Frida Kahlo demands anguish.
  78. By consistently and relentlessly overplaying everything, by settling for standard easy emotions when singular and heartfelt was called for, by pushing forward when they should have pulled back, director Joe Wright and screenwriter Susannah Grant have made the story mean less, not more. Instead of enhancing The Soloist's appeal, they have come close to eliminating it.
  79. The film blurs lines between documentary, reality television and "Candid Camera," with Vargas instigating the proceedings.
  80. With little room to feel for or even understand Anna Maria, Paradise: Faith rarely seems more than high art with low intentions.
  81. Disjointed and unfocused.
  82. Overcomplicates its plot and spends a lot of time floundering around in the shallow end.
  83. What is going on here? Most would say a lot of incredibly dangerous and stupid activity, and most of the people in this documentary not surprisingly seem none too bright.
  84. Secretariat shows no fear of the sentimental, and that's putting it mildly. This is an old-fashioned, super-genteel family movie that opens with an equine quote from the Book of Job and makes ample use of the Edwin Hawkins Singers' gospel song "Oh Happy Day."
  85. The most profound thing the remarkably dread-filled drama Day Night Day Night tells us is what it doesn't tell us.
  86. If the movie doesn't entirely get past its hard-to-buy premise, director Paolo Sorrentino does have the courage of his convictions, not just embracing every contradiction but spinning many of the story's contrivances into moments of strange, aching beauty.
  87. While Extract is mildly amusing and a slice of a mostly working-class world that doesn't make it into comedy that much anymore, it's not completely convincing as a movie.
  88. The Kite Runner is a house divided against itself. The Marc Forster-directed version of the Khaled Hosseini novel does one part of the story so well that its success underlines what's lacking in what remains.
  89. The result is solid and efficient, if unadventurous, illustrating both the lure and the limitations of comic book extravaganzas.
  90. Not ultimately original enough to sustain its many horrific images.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    The problem is that Antal and Metallica took two different movies — a fine live-band document and a supernatural end-of-days romp — and smashed them together to make both of them more boring.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    Lee's attempt at making a romantic comedy that black audiences can enjoy without having to reimagine themselves as Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.
    • Los Angeles Times
  91. A standard-issue Hollywood family film about a boy and his dog growing up in a Southern small town during World War II.
  92. It starts out like a house afire, but by the time it's over we're the ones feeling burned. A slick heist tale with more twists than sense, this is one movie that ends up outsmarting itself.
  93. Transformers' multiple earthling story lines are tedious and oddly lifeless, doing little besides marking time until those big toys fill the screen.
  94. Stabile keeps his affecting story hurtling forward with such grit and integrity it's easy to forgive its loaded setup and occasional lapses in detail and logic.
  95. A one-sided attack piece like FrackNation doesn't add much to the conversation.
  96. The visuals and concepts presented here may be compelling and vital, but director Luc Jacquet (“March of the Penguins”) weaves them together with too little urgency, propulsion and, ultimately, unique sense of purpose.

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