Los Angeles Times' Scores

For 7,180 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 0.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 La Dolce Vita (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 Hudson Hawk
Score distribution:
7,180 movie reviews
  1. The singular achievement of Jonathan Karsh's graceful and rigorous documentary is that he enables his audiences to see his heroine's family through her very clear but always loving eyes.
  2. It would be a mistake to think that if you've seen one fish up close and personal you've seen them all. Deep Sea 3D is a total-immersion undersea adventure, in which the oceans' glories are on vivid display in three dimensions.
  3. An impeccably acted character drama revolving around a mother and her teenage twin sons, Private Property shows how strong and how terrifying the bonds within families can be. Directed by Belgium's Joachim Lafosse, it etches the line between love and hate with a savagery that is almost unprecedented.
  4. Control keeps you riveted in ways that "24 Hour Party People" doesn't, primarily because of the investment of craft and conviction by all concerned.
  5. The Boys is so heartfelt that it elicits a sense that complex creative relationships may ultimately elude explication, leaving Jeffrey Sherman to speculate that the friction between his father and his uncle was what brought their songs alive.
  6. Intelligent, involving and conspicuously adult, Starting Out in the Evening is almost shocking in its distinctiveness, its ability to create high drama from an unlikely source.
  7. Impeccably made, uncompromising in its implacable vision of the deranging power of love, sex and controlled substances, this savage and staggering film knows how to take our breath away.
  8. One terrific concert film.
  9. The Last of the Unjust, like Lanzmann himself at his advanced age, is ungainly but powerful.
  10. Exquisitely made with a mesmerizing sense of style, it shows the wonderful things that can happen when traditional material is both handled with care and adroitly updated.
  11. All of this romantic back and forth unfolds gradually and in charming ensemble style. As the characters think about seducing each other, as they inevitably complicate their lives without being able to help themselves, the film is simultaneously seducing us.
  12. It could have done with fewer plot devices, but it is ultimately far more satisfying than countless less ambitious and risky films.
  13. Writer-director Jay Bulger combines warts-heavy interview footage of Baker with vivid archival bits, concert clips, jaunty animation and chats with various musical greats to paint a lively portrait of yet another brilliant but wildly self-destructive artist.
  14. Intimate in the telling, sweeping in the implications, Loznitsa has created an unusually incisive film.
  15. As David Rakoff once wrote, "Youth isn't wasted on the young. It is perpetrated on the young." Exactly how is brilliantly captured by Andrew Bujalski in his debut feature, Funny Ha Ha.
  16. A transcendent, transporting experience, a trance movie that casts a major league spell by going deeply into a monastic world that lives largely without words.
  17. The movie is among the filmmaker's most emotionally affecting.
  18. The film doesn't always follow up on its more interesting issues: safety, technique, financial hardship, even the sport's history. But the emotional dynamics of its trio of formative hopefuls, and their touching relationships with the parents or guardians who work hard at enabling their passion, set a solid pace.
  19. Del Toro is almost alone in his ability to re-create on screen the wide-eyed exhilaration and disturbing grotesqueness that is the legacy of reading comics on the page.
  20. With her new film, the poignant and funny Please Give, Holofcener is at the top of her game.
  21. Truly, there can be nothing as complex as the simplest human relationships, and nothing as satisfying as a film that understands that as this one does.
  22. Lumumba is potent stuff. Complex, powerful, intensely dramatic.
  23. Im recounts the painter's life in bold strokes rather than with the literalist's painstaking detail, and in the process tells us more about the mysteries of genius than a bushel full of quotidian fact.
  24. In a superb cast of mostly unknowns -- with the exception of Matthew Modine and Dorain Harewood -- D'Onofrio, who put on 60 pounds for this pivotal role, and Ermey are exceptional. [26 June 1987]
  25. At first Tabu is intriguing. But the enigma gets wearing as the director's attention is divided between the homage to the silent film era and the film's underlying exploration of the regret of old age.
  26. De Bont and his team have turned in a visually sophisticated piece of mayhem that makes the implausible plausible and keeps the thrills coming. [10Jun1994 Pg. F1]
  27. Seven years in the making, it demands to be experienced not just because of the good it does but because of how unexpectedly good, even buoyant, it makes you feel.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The film captures the particular listlessness of youth in summer, the passed pipes and lazy swims in the gorge or the backyard pool. The adolescent posturing is equal parts toughness and vulnerability.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The immediacy with which it bears witness to injustice is powerful and affecting, as are the images of joy he captures amid the burning olive trees.
  28. Tarantino's palpable enthusiasm, his unapologietic passion for what he's created, reinvigorates this venerable plot and, mayhem aside, makes it involving for longer than you might suspect. [27 Oct 1992]
  29. A very small film but a sweet one, an easygoing venture of the feel-good variety. What sets it apart is something even larger pictures often lack: an excellent performance by its star.
  30. A seamless model of form and content. (My only quibble is the poor quality of the digital video, which doesn't do justice to Johnson's work.)
  31. With Manhunter, there seems to be some danger that style has overrun content, leaving behind a vast, chic, well-cast wasteland. [15 Aug 1986]
  32. This is a film that insinuates itself deeply into our awareness. It's that rare pulp story with something on its mind, an unnerving, socially conscious thriller with a killer sense of narrative drive.
  33. An art film to the core. If it's an epic, it's an intimate, dream-time epic, an elliptical, episodic film, dependent on images and reveries, that treats war as the ultimate nightmare, the one you just cannot awaken from no matter how hard you try.
  34. It leaves you stirred and uplifted not only by its music but also by the determination and courage of the people who sang and danced it on the way to a freer life.
  35. Charming and outlandish by turns, this misfit love story of disconnected people trying to find one another in an antagonistic world is a comedy of discomfort and rage that turns unexpectedly sweet and pure.
  36. This is a gentle comedy, both funny and melancholy, about a timid soul who discovers the necessity of embracing life in all its absurdity and unlooked-for joy.
  37. Not Yet Begun to Fight is barely an hour long, but it justifies a theatrical release with a lyrical meditation on nature and war.
  38. One of the truly heartening international political stories of recent years.
  39. The Counterfeiters demonstrates that no matter how many Holocaust stories the movies tell, there are always new and unexpected ones waiting to be revealed.
  40. After the Wedding would never pretend to have any answers, but in hands this skilled the act of exploration itself couldn't be more illuminating, or more dramatic.
  41. Potent, persuasive and hypnotic, The Dark Knight Rises has us at its mercy. A disturbing experience we live through as much as a film we watch, this dazzling conclusion to director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is more than an exceptional superhero movie, it is masterful filmmaking by any standard.
  42. It's the film's glowing visual qualities, a striking performance by Denzel Washington and the elegant control Carl Franklin has over it all that create the most exotic crime entertainment of the season.
  43. With the ambitious and ominous The Devil's Backbone, Del Toro rises to a new level of accomplishment, adding history and politics to his distinctive blend.
  44. A film of simplicity and power, beautifully shot and effortlessly acted by nonprofessionals.
  45. There isn't a single performance in Midnight Run that doesn't have a pulse, that doesn't show the actors at their best or near-best, especially De Niro. [20 July 1988]
  46. Makes for gripping, merciless drama.
  47. What you see is pretty much what you get. Fortunately, what we see is often vivid and lovely.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The film, which plays like "The Help" minus the safety net of nostalgia, provides a powerful reminder that as we all carry history with us, it is still possible for each of us to change it.
  48. Though its title suggests an exposé on Dodger Dogs, the movie is the moving, inspirational account of John Peterson's discovery of an almost divine calling in the land beneath his feet.
  49. This one-of-a-kind film cycle has become as comfortable and reliable as an old shoe, providing a degree of dependability that's becoming increasingly rare.
  50. Concerned with fathers and sons, expectations and dreams, ideals and reality, this completely engrossing film gets more involving as it goes on.
  51. Has both bark and bite. Its low-key but sharp and amusing sense of humor is a nice fit with the frenetic world of competitive dog shows.
  52. Too short by half, Lost Boys of Sudan affords frustratingly little by way of real analysis and history. But it does introduce us to two extraordinary young men whose faith in this country is almost as unbearably sad as their stories.
  53. Anderson, who makes as impressive a directing debut as has been seen in some time, creates a perfectly modulated mystery that doesn't even feel like one. It's a character play, and Hall, Reilly and Paltrow are so convincingly damaged they take on the properties of fine china.
  54. Lemmons' command of cinematic style, her appreciation of the chimerical aspects of life and her ability to inspire actors to give remarkably faceted portrayals mark Eve's Bayou a first film of exceptional promise.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Na captures at once the fragility of the human body and the deep-rooted darkness of the human soul. The Yellow Sea is easily one of the films of the year for underserved action-heads.
  55. It feels like a blessing to have this production at all and we are fortunate it turned out as well as it did.
  56. Buoyed by an unreserved humanism and a cheerful sense of the absurd.
  57. The Catherine Breillat-directed period piece is an extreme cinematic pleasure, a well-told yarn of merciless desire.
  58. Insomnia shows an equally welcome ability: a gift of creating intelligent, engrossing popular entertainment.
  59. It's all terribly tortured, often laugh-out-loud, absurdly funny and, as with all of Maddin's movies, conveyed through images that are as lush and beautifully over the top as the story's emotions.
  60. Leisurely yet intense (Sayles does the editing himself), Lone Star reveals a director whose mastery does nothing but increase. Perhaps now his audience will as well.
  61. What Live-in Maid offers is a pitch-perfect observation of life on a continent where forms are adhered to, distances aren't really kept, and your best friend is the person who knows to pour the cheap domestic whiskey into the empty bottle of imported stuff before your bridge buddies show up to judge you.
  62. Epic and intimate, historical and contemporary, moving and thought-provoking, the impressive The Princess of Montpensier has something for all and sundry but especially for those who like to believe that films can be as boldly intelligent as they are entertaining.
  63. Zodiac is primarily a complex character study, despite the film's grim and gruesome subject matter. It's a role reversal of sorts for a director who normally emphasizes the brutal tension in his movies.
  64. In its gently atmospheric camerawork and nicely underplayed moments between Mike and Chris, Resolution manages to keep its eerier moments surprising and its emotional life arresting.
  65. Mr. Death, which is shot through with one dark absurdity after another, emerges as a cautionary tale if ever there was one.
  66. Although there is real pain and suffering in It All Starts Today, it is too impassioned, too brisk and too embracing of life and human foibles to be depressing.
  67. Gathering its forces slowly, this careful, thoughtful film, quietly but deeply moving, is dramatic without seeming to be.
  68. Ramsay reaches out boldly with a film that is as unsettling as it is minimalist.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a highly enjoyable spree that doesn't add up to a whole lot by the end. But you don't necessarily want it to add up to anything -- that's part of its charm. [24 Sept 1993]
  69. Denis and Testud, in a wondrous collaboration of a gifted director and equally gifted actress, succeed in making Christine a tragic figure.
  70. If you believe that bringing the questionable virtues of "American Idol" to Afghanistan would do that beleaguered nation no favors, the remarkable documentary Afghan Star will change your mind in an instant.
  71. Mysterious and original.
  72. Sublime psychological thriller.
  73. The most hopeful — and the best — of this solid and unsettling series.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Exploring a Lao family's experience during and since the Vietnam War, the film chronicles the treacheries of geopolitics and the upheaval of exile.
  74. Wong brilliantly blends musical styles and eras to create an intoxicating mood.
  75. The introduction of a baby that Tonny supposedly fathered feels worrisome initially...but in Refn's skilled street-realist hands, the child becomes a potent, wailing metaphor for Tonny's own dilemma of rudderless need.
  76. Brilliantly choreographed and shot, Kung Fu Hustle is often grisly, visually spectacular and unabashedly silly, sometimes all at once.
  77. No matter what you've been used to, Idaho is something completely different, a film that manages to confound all expectations, even the ones it sets up itself. [18 Oct 1991]
  78. A lot of this is quite well done, but Bromell has a tendency to have too schematic an aesthetic agenda for his story: treating film noir like kabuki is not necessarily the best way to go, no matter how beautifully you do it.
  79. It's Patinkin who scores a special triumph. In his role there's a poignant strain of weariness beneath the leaping bravado, a pain under the braggadocio. [25 Sept 1987]
  80. Tainted or not, Hughes' life was a remarkable one, and, flawed or not, Scorsese's film version deserves the same accolade.
  81. Intelligent, involving and serious, it is as honestly emotional as Hollywood allows itself to get, a story of the search for wartime truth whose own concern for the genuine makes all the difference.
  82. Aside from a riveting adventure story that Herzog tells in all of its terrifying, stripped-down simplicity, Rescue Dawn is a fascinating study of human particularity.
  83. No film with as many elements as Happy Feet is successful with all of them, and the romantic-emotional elements of this story feel overly familiar. But the music and dancing are fresh and new, and this strong an ecological message has not been seen since Hayao Miyazaki's "Princess Mononoke."
  84. A compelling piece of work that turns out to have unexpected relevance to the current world situation.
  85. As essential in its own way as Anton Karas' celebrated zither work was to "The Third Man," Lola's music is perfectly suited to the film's aims and just about addictive in its throbbing, insinuating rhythms.
  86. There's nothing much to the movie, except for the amiability of the actors and the layers of feeling Linklater provides, but that's just almost enough.
  87. Self-conscious about its heroism with portrayals that lean toward the glib and the professionally uplifting, the film milks our sympathies too readily to be emotionally convincing.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    With observant fluidity and that grounding point of Qi's desire to fight once again, Chang roots the film in personal, individual stories, keeping larger metaphors for the nation at the edges.
  88. Even if you don't fancy raw fish, "Jiro" is a captivating film.
  89. Though much of the movie was shot in secret to protect the filmmakers, Bailey and Thompson managed to create a remarkably vivid portrait of a land and its people, while bringing us two unforgettable heroes in Campbell and Freeth.
  90. Chungking Express ravishingly, seductively exudes the immediacy of everyday life as its spins its classically timeless tales of love lost and almost regained.
  91. It is the kind of distinctive, culture-driven drama from emerging filmmakers that I wish we saw more of.
  92. This modest film has virtues that come out of nowhere. It takes familiar material and develops it with such tact and skill that we find ourselves moved and sort of amazed at the same time.
  93. Ulee's Gold stands out for its sureness, its quiet emotional force and writer-director Victor Nunez's ability to find and nurture the mystery and power in the events of an ordinary life.

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