Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 9,506 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 1.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Son of Saul
Lowest review score: 0 Natural Selection
Score distribution:
9506 movie reviews
  1. Shyamalan's great gift is the creation of atmosphere, the conjuring of spooky, unseen menace. When he gets around to doing this in Signs, all is well, but it's a tossup as to whether the film offers enough of a payoff considering how long it takes to get where it's going.
  2. Jang and screenwriter Park Sang-yeon recognize the situation's senselessness but can't resist ramping up the melodrama and celebrating the heroism of the battle-fatigued soldiers. These contradictory impulses, combined with the film's undercooked characters, make The Front Line a war movie not quite worth engaging.
  3. Elvis & Nixon meanders its way into the big encounter with a tone too wacky and cutesy to whet our appetite for strangeness.
  4. Guilty of squandering resources. Amusing as it goes about setting up its premise, in Witherspoon, the gifted veteran of "Election" and "Pleasantville," it has an actress willing to throw herself completely into the part to excellent effect.
  5. What's on screen is too honest and from the heart to totally dismiss but too slick and contrived to completely embrace. This is a film that cares about genuine emotion but also wants to tame it, to tidy it up and keep it confined to quarters.
  6. The only aspects of the tale that seem uniquely Maori are the action sequences featuring the martial art of mau rakau. Aside from intermittent dream sequences in which Hongi communicates with his late grandmother (Rena Owen), the storytelling is Westernized.
  7. Mission: Impossible proves something of a letdown, not just because it's fairly easy to guess who the bad guy is but also because we've hardly gotten to know anyone in the movie well enough to become more than superficially involved with them.
  8. Does have a large and capable cast and, in James Foley, a director with a taste for visual flourishes. They all so fell in love with the script by Doug Jung they didn't notice how much a derivative retread it is of superior material like "The Grifters" and even "The Sting."
  9. The dehumanizing aspect of pimping is what's scariest about the Hughes brothers' investigation--so powerful the filmmakers realize they need only to record it.
  10. While it's futile to pretend that Life Is Beautiful completely triumphs--it's simply too tough a concept to sustain--what is surprising about this unlikely film is that it succeeds as well as it does.
  11. The film strains to be hip with its sterilized pop soundtrack and perky graphics. The humor that isn't lifted from the novel is equivalent to that of a subpar situation comedy.
  12. Though its early sections feel repetitive and self-congratulatory, the documentary's tension builds in the way director Mary Liz Thomson uses archival material, much of it from TV news.
  13. Smart isn't all it's cracked up to be and soon the movie is unraveling faster than all of Eddie's grand schemes.
  14. At once short on details and incredibly forthcoming, Barbara Kopple's documentary doesn't dig into specifics about Mariel's personal struggles with mental illness nor the WillingWay lifestyle that she and her boyfriend Bobby Williams espouse.
  15. Despite the fertile concept, it's hard to care about, much less root for, the irritable, charisma-challenged Barney. The character never emerges as an effective hero or antihero, and performer Carlyle does little to mitigate that.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The Dead, evocatively filmed in grainy 35mm, might carry the cinematic vibe of an old-school, flesh-eating adventure, but as it should be with stories like this, it's not a pretty picture.
  16. Unfortunately, this film is not as convincing as LaBute's first feature ("In the Company of Men"), for it betrays its origins in the theatricality of its dialogue, resulting in an aura of artificiality.
  17. Though originality is not one of its accomplishments, Anastasia is generally pleasant, serviceable and eager to please.
  18. More disturbing, yet another robot, or maybe two, seems to have written a Hollywood script and hijacked a major studio production. Given the film's assembly-line screenplay and mechanistic storytelling, no other explanation seems viable. Certainly no one with a heartbeat or taste would blow so much talent, time and resources on such rubbishy writing.
  19. If the bad guys didn't reappear with welcome regularity, "Money Never Sleeps" would be even more of a snooze than it already is.
  20. Though more brutish than elegant, The Whistleblower does have a certain charged, unvarnished power in its examination of how people can harm those they are enlisted to protect.
  21. The film's insistence on laughter through the tears too often feels strained.
  22. Dredd's cinematography is one of its strongest assets speaks to the film's larger problems - the parts and pieces just don't have the total impact they should, like a punch sailing helplessly through the air rather than forcefully smacking its target.
  23. What is unexpected, however, is that the film manages to be flat and uninteresting, despite the juicy (or, at the very least, lurid) true story from 1979 that serves as this curio's inspiration.
  24. This is a film bound and determined to do whatever it takes to be your Valentine. If it had trusted itself more, it might even have succeeded.
  25. It looks as if no one bothered to deliver more than the minimum requirement of magic or artistry.
  26. Writer-director Terry Miles' revisionist homage is a thoughtful thesis on the melodrama but a letdown in its attempt to serve as an affecting example of that genre.
  27. Gibney and Ellwood struggle to create context for or make much sense of the vibrant hodge-podge of material that they excavated from the archives of Kesey, who died in 2001.
  28. La Petite Lili itself is pretty good, but it is also assured to the point of glibness.
  29. Although What If nobly attempts to honor and embellish the tropes of the genre rather than reinvent them, the filmmakers get tripped up on their own good intentions and uncertain comedic instincts.
  30. As a harangue about cyberbullying, it's purely exploitative, but when Unfriended zeros in on the whiplash mixture of freedom and torment we get from multitasking our online lives? It's srsly fun, imo.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Ecological passion meets unquenchable self-aggrandizement in the beautifully filmed deep-blue-alert documentary Sharkwater.
  31. But even a comic spin on grimace-inducing tales of the icky buffet, the "mattress room" (whatever you're imagining, that's it) and Levenson's own buffoonish image as a 10-ladies-a-night player -- "He never read a book," Al Goldstein cracks -- can't keep an unexplored sadness from slithering in amid the orgy of upbeat testimonials.
  32. The Bjorn Borg of romantic comedies: precise, good-looking, dependable and serviceable, if predictable. It never really heats up, which is too bad.
  33. Filmmakers Brad and John Hennegan follow six horses and their trainers through the arduous 2006 race season, building up to the Derby, but they are never able to find the balance between insider wonkery and genuine human (or animal) drama.
  34. By allowing Cameron's first-person account to take command of the narrative, though, the film seems to gloss over meaningful logistics of the expedition.
  35. I don't know that we actually need Agent OSS 117, but the world is a slightly better place with him around. And the film itself is a harmless trifle -- make that truffle, chocolate of course.
  36. Despite the film's unvarnished emotionality and even-handed messaging, Courtney never seems to have found an appropriate focus, resulting in a work that's less urgent and involving than its intense subject matter might have dictated.
  37. This narrowly cast documentary focuses so exclusively on a publicity tour the former president took in the closing months of 2006 that a more accurate title might be "Jimmy Carter How I Sold My Book."
  38. The big question here is why any of The Voices, as crisply made and stylish as it is, should matter or entertain. The cold truth is that it doesn't.
  39. The result is an exquisite yawn that provokes consideration of how accomplished Ben Kingsley, Fiona Shaw and Mira Sorvino and others are as actors -- but how in this instance the characters they play so intensely never come alive.
  40. Nothing feels truly at stake, no matter how weighty the risks the characters face, but there are charming moments along the way.
  41. Baskin won't be for everybody, but it's well made and imaginatively upsetting.
  42. While the gangsta lyrics and posturing are laden with cliché, there's still some novelty in sustaining a rap narration for nearly two hours. But whenever the music stops, the film can never stay in the game by landing on a figurative chair.
  43. But it's one thing to write a loving ode to your mother; another to direct an ode to an ode.
  44. Although children may enjoy the animal action (there's also a fun pelican and a yellow sea turtle) and parents might appreciate the movie's genuinely sweet moments, this is exceedingly mild entertainment.
  45. Despite the story's melodramatic contrivances the creation of characters we actually care about is beyond this film's capabilities.
  46. Kinkle's debut refreshingly sacrifices gore showpieces (though it is bloody at times) for a steadily increasing dread tied to a young woman's desperation.
  47. In a less competitive year, Jeff Goldblum would have had a shot at an Oscar nod for his performance in Adam Resurrected.
  48. As much as we intellectually admire Jarhead, it's a cold film that only sporadically makes the kind of emotional connection it's after.
  49. It is a disappointment coming from writer-director David Cronenberg, who has proved such a master at mind games. Cronenberg is perhaps too faithful to the book. The topic is provocative and certainly timely, but the film never achieves the incisive power of his best work, "A History of Violence" for one. Even an A-list ensemble that includes Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton and Paul Giamatti can't save it.
  50. Stays remarkably close to its predecessor in all the ways that count.
  51. The idea that sexual harassment is about power, not sex, and that a woman in power can potentially misbehave just like a man may be news to certain segments of the population, but they are not news enough to light a much-needed fire under this production. [9 Dec 1994, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
  52. This one-of-a kind charmer casts an immediate and delightful spell.
  53. Even though Defamation, which is sprinkled with unexpected moments of wry humor, will be inescapably controversial, Yoav Shamir strives admirably to be evenhanded.
  54. The new thriller from South Korean director Park Chan-Wook is a bizarrely perverse, beautifully rendered mystery that you may or may not care to solve.
  55. Maddeningly exploitative, the film takes a provocative subject -- pedophilia -- and wraps it in a sterile, vacuum-sealed package, devoid of meaning.
  56. Defiance has some genuine strengths but also some weaker elements, and these opposing traits battle it out kind of the way the contentious Bielskis fought not only the Germans but each other.
  57. Though the movie is not without thoughtful observations on gender roles and the effects of war, Hart's characters tend to speak in poetic truths that call attention to their authorial polish. The cast breathes what life it can into the proceedings, with Otaru particularly impressive.
  58. An intelligent family film, a rarity, and while not quite Crowe at his absolute best, it carries his humanistic imprint and benefits from a strong acting ensemble that keep emotions in check.
  59. The pervasive historical reenactments and voiceovers, however, while clearly well-intended, often turn this otherwise vital film into an uneasy hybrid of authenticity and artifice.
  60. The movie creates something of the sensation of huffing industrial solvents - in a good way! - a waking-sleep zombification that can't exactly be described as pleasurable but definitely has an odd, distinct power.
  61. There is so much about its package – the stars, the premise, the talented supporting cast – that would make for a film of warmth, humor and insight on the struggles of leaving the past behind and getting out of your own way on the path to fulfilment. Instead, the movie settles for being a party comedy and little else.
  62. Includes a few scenes of impressively choreographed mayhem, but they're all but buried in Freeman and Condon's mystical grandpa and weirdo teeny bopper routines.
  63. Sometimes it seems as if Iñárritu is literally carving out his actor's heart, so tangible does Bardem make Uxbal's fears. Iñárritu has so much that he wants to say - too much, in fact, and the film's central weakness - that he has created an emotional tsunami for both the actors and the audience.
  64. By turns hysterical, heretical, guilty, innocent, silly, sophisticated, teasing and tedious.
  65. All dressed up with no particular place to go, this 22nd Bond film tries hard but ends up an underachiever.
  66. Ostensibly exploring a monumental what-if in a musician's life — a late-career reckoning that aims to make up for lost time — the movie is itself a missed opportunity, especially given that it stars Al Pacino.
  67. The result is not quite a horror movie (too cheerful and can-do) or a thriller (too cheerful and stupid), nor does it parody itself or take itself seriously, thereby canceling out the camp factor. It's more like an improv sketch at 30,000 feet.
  68. The film is a moody and lyrical contemplation of grief and the connections that can be found within the void of loss.
  69. It isn't just that there's something unsettling about a film that aestheticizes a crematorium; it's that there's something trivializing about the very effort.
  70. K-19's determination to push hard for self-congratulatory morals and convenient resolutions undercut the film's strengths and make it more conventional.
  71. A leisurely, understated film reminiscent of any number of Japanese counterparts featuring quietly heroic rural teachers. It is easy to label the film as slow, old-fashioned and sentimental, which it certainly is, but it has the tenacity of its heroine, the pretty and intelligent Melinda (Alessandra de Rossi).
  72. Keeps its filmmakers behind the camera and does without the personality-driven "Fahrenheit's" sarcastic sense of humor.
  73. Directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg, Pocahontas is on the formulaic side, a copy that duplicates what its predecessors have done, only a little less adroitly and with a little less style. [16Jun1995 Pg. F.01]
    • Los Angeles Times
  74. Gout undermines his own spiky, ambitious narrative with all the visual interference, as dazzling as it often is.
  75. In trying to create a balanced portrait of the conflicts and the ordinary people affected by them, director Michael Berry, who co-wrote the screenplay with Luis Moulinet III, chips away at the authenticity and intensity that an issue-driven film like this sorely needs.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Critic Score
    A spoof, sometimes a funny one, and sometimes just plain overkill.
  76. If one will pardon the obvious analogy, The Express ends up feeling like a fumble at the goal line, coming across as simple-minded and melodramatic.
  77. The "Die Hard" series was never exactly big on nuance, but this new installment relentlessly zeros in on sensation. It's almost sadistically single-minded. [19May1995 Pg.F.01]
    • Los Angeles Times
  78. Many viewers will find it challenging to see the substance hidden in the documentary’s over-the-top style that makes Michael Moore’s directorial stamp look subtle.
  79. A fan of flash-edited, orientation-challenged, hand-held camera mayhem, Wilkins unfortunately takes the wrong cue from his title and fragments the movie's attack scenes for maximum energy but minimal logical effect.
  80. With a highly stylized form, and thick, syrupy ribbons of blood splashing everywhere, Sun Choke evokes a creepy, eerie vibe, but it’s difficult to muster more than a passing interest in the story, because we don’t know who this girl is, or why she does these things.
  81. There’s a deeper emptiness at the core of the movie, a failure of nerve and a fundamental incuriosity about what makes the Snowden affair interesting and relevant, then and now.
  82. Unfortunately for Man on the Moon, Kaufman is definitely a person more interesting to hear about than to experience, an acquired taste few will be tempted to acquire.
  83. Loving Jackie Chan has always been easy, which is why it would be nice if he could find better material in which to bask in his long-sought American stardom or, alternately, ease into bad movies as effortlessly as his co-star.
  84. "Rubber" felt inventive and complex, but here Dupieux's absurdism is simply muddled, masking the fact he doesn't really have much to say.
  85. For a movie about moonshine, something so imaginatively made, mood-altering and once violently sought-after, it goes down way too blandly.
  86. Kid-Thing proves as disturbing for what it is as for what it's not.
  87. Sheridan seems as conflicted as the Cahills about their virtues and failings. The underlying themes -- love, loyalty, decency, duty, honor, betrayal -- that screenwriter David Benioff will use to both bind and break this family seem to bedevil him more than inspire him this time out.
  88. Hologram for the King is a baffling film, cinema without weight or heft. The problem is not that anything on screen is troubling, it's that nothing there, not even star Tom Hanks, is capable of holding our interest or attention for very long.
  89. It's a movie that's almost all style, all technique. It doesn't seem to be inhabited by people, thoughts or feelings, but by great coruscating patterns of light crashing over and over us, repeatedly--almost, but not quite, drowning out a constant buzz of cliches.
  90. Yet with so much going for it, the film's creators have made the classic Hollywood choice and treated its actresses like flesh-and-blood special effects. If you've got talent like this, or so the theory goes, a coherent story is a luxury that can be dispensed with.
  91. Slick and forceful, largely unconcerned with character, eager for any opportunity to pump up the volume both literally and metaphorically, The Rock is the kind of efficient entertainment that is hard to take pleasure in.
  92. Not having a way to capture images of the machines at work means that too much of Butler's film -- his credits include "Pumping Iron" and the Imax film "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure" -- is disappointingly made up of computer simulations.
  93. Perhaps fearful of venturing into downer territory, I Am Chris Farley sticks to slickly edited, bite-sized anecdotes about an attention-starved Midwestern goofball unprepared for stardom, accompanied by storybook music that accentuates Farley's childlike nature over his darker impulses.
  94. The result is a film that is solid and acceptable instead of soaring and exceptional, one unnecessarily hampered in its quest to reach the magical heights of the trilogy.
  95. Has its moments... But does a kids' movie really need, among other similar touches, a Hooters joke? I, for one, wouldn't want to have to explain it.
  96. Most successful in capturing the emotional elements of its story, the film relies on its excellent cast to balance out sketchily drawn characters and the unfortunate obviousness of its plot.
  97. For reminding us all that Cage has a peculiarly gifted way with erratic types, The Trust has merit, but the rest of it strains to hold one’s interest.

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