Ben Kenigsberg
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For 275 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 36% higher than the average critic
  • 8% same as the average critic
  • 56% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Ben Kenigsberg's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 50
Highest review score: 100 The Strange Little Cat
Lowest review score: 0 Date Movie
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 275
  2. Negative: 49 out of 275
275 movie reviews
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    The movie goes beyond alarmism with solutions that on the surface would seem to find common ground between environmental advocacy and unfettered capitalism.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    An "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" retread told from a postoccupation vantage point, this adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s YA romance novel unfolds in a dystopian future when alien parasites have nearly won the battle for Earth.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Aristocrats is a veritable talent show itself, albeit one that feels inescapably slight. To rejigger another ancient joke: The food at this place isn't terrible. But the portions are really small.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Each narrative fissure further thwarts meaning. The most you can ask from a movie as nullifying as this one is that it offer wit and visual panache, which it does.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Mr. Nossiter’s main point is that traditional farming methods have become revolutionary in a country that, we’re told, has grown progressively less agrarian. Mr. Nossiter champions that activism in this mellow, unfocused film.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Maid’s Room has much to recommend, including the versatile Mr. Camp (“Tamara Drewe,” “Compliance”) in a Machiavellian role. But it doesn’t marshal its twists toward a convincing or satisfying conclusion.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    This affectionate documentary is more of a bonbon for longtime fans than an entryway for a broader audience.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Amid the overheated, sometimes amateurish histrionics — Mr. Nizzari shoots a lengthy father-son blowout in a single, theatrical take — Grand Slammed contains inklings of a serious point about immobility in America.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Depending on your POV, it's either the ne plus ultra of Hollywood calculation or a comedy simply intent on pushing its crassness to the point of surrealism.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    These fond recollections of derring-do hail from a different era, and the movie’s one-sided view of history is bound to start arguments. The film is best appreciated as a straightforward testimonial: old war buddies’ hurrah against anti-Semitism.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Pleasant even without reaching much of a destination, Transamerica leaves the basic impression that it's not as self-satisfied as it could have been.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    From a dramatic standpoint, the movie can be unconvincing... From a formal standpoint, though, the movie impresses, maintaining a sense of anxiety through tight shots and a sound design that favors overlapping voices and constant clatter.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Viewers unencumbered by nostalgia will probably see this zippy, occasionally funny movie as no more frantic or pop-culture-addled than the average multiplex fodder.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Shedding light on the filmmaking process would have only enriched this well-wrought but limited extreme-sports portrait.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    The notion of an undercover agent with an untrustworthy mind is a great gimmick — and on a commercial level, Dying of the Light sometimes plays as just another high-concept vehicle for a comically overacting Mr. Cage. But Mr. Schrader’s vision is strong enough to rage against the hackier calculations.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Teetering somewhere between audacious and offensive, the stylistically voracious Filmistaan only intermittently reveals any sense of danger in its comedy.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    The hand-wringing and revelations are familiar from many wedding movies, but May in the Summer gains added potency from its cross-cultural tensions and the drama the characters face in reconciling tradition with modern life.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Inspired by a 1997 "Voice" article on ex-members of the Satmar sect, Mendy is cast largely with Orthodox or former Orthodox actors, who are utterly credible with dialogue that necessarily teeters between the candid and the offensive.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    This feel-good profile barely touches on the political and cultural ramifications of Emmanuel's work. Narration by Oprah increases the aura of a civics lesson.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Lighthearted foray into the world of competitive eating.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    There’s so much great vintage footage of Ali... and he’s so charismatic, it would be hard to watch the movie and not take something from it.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    The droll, shape-shifting Two Shots Fired, the newest movie from the Argentine filmmaker Martín Rejtman (the subject of a current retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center), accomplishes the strange feat of constantly thwarting expectations without ever varying its tone or moving the needle of excitement.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Throughout, first-time director Teona Strugar Mitevska (the sibling of the lead actress) demonstrates a keen eye for off-center compositions, a striking visual depiction of a world out of balance.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Mr. Pailoor (who wrote the screenplay with Anu Pradhan) shows a taste for blunt metaphor... It’s hard to find fault with the performances, though, particularly Mr. Seth’s.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Driven by mostly Spanish-language folk music, the movie provides a potent if piecemeal counterbalance to the sensationalism of “Breaking Bad.”
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Often has the feel of a film-school exercise in which the object is to wring maximum suspense from rudimentary tools.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    A derivative but efficient chiller that cribs from “Solaris,” “The Shining” and “The Amityville Horror” yet also shows glimmers of imagination.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Like Romeo + Juliet (1996), Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby emerges as a half-reverent, half-travestying adaptation that’s campy but not a betrayal, offering a lively take on a familiar work while sacrificing such niceties as structure, character, and nuance.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    As in "Contraband," Kormákur offers a hint of a political statement, in this case about the inherent potential for corruption whenever competing government agencies are operating in international territory. But it doesn’t quite make it. On almost every level, 2 Guns is content to be as flavorless and forgettable as its title.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Knotty and tense for most of its running time, Omar becomes muddled in its closing minutes, conflating personal and political treachery.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Abandoning its more original elements, the movie opts for a banal carpe diem conceit that turns Mitty into a globetrotting bystander.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    It’s not so much a mangled movie as it is an unfulfilled, forgettable one: unnecessary for anyone who’s seen the play, yet sufficiently watered-down that newcomers won’t be able to tell what all the fuss was about.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Giving the kind of mannered performance that seems predicated on careful mimicry of 60 Minutes, Cumberbatch impresses without ever coming across as more than an abstraction.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    While it’s heartening in one sense to see this youthful, offbeat take on two men’s determination to stay eternally fresh, there’s something about the ease with which the characters reorder their lives that makes Land Ho! seem both a little slight and a little precious.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    The end of Le Week-End reveals it to be the thoroughly ordinary melodrama a description suggests — a portrait of former ’60s fire-starters who are perfectly happy to settle for embers.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Firth and Stone are terrific, but they’re cast as screwball leads. Given only intermittent opportunities for levity, the two end up serving as mouthpieces for Allen’s dubious self-justifications.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    The film largely lacks the urgency its subject demands. It’s an extended news segment in the form of a feature film.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Like adolescence itself, Teenage is educational, scattered, and over much too quickly.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Part of the point here is to stake a claim on a genre that’s traditionally been a boys’ club, and in that regard, The Heat delivers: In a bonding moment, this odd couple goes on a bender as epic as anything in "The Hangover." Their enthusiasm with weapons should alarm viewers across all demographics and species.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Alternating scenes of the psycho-as-family-man with an increasingly grisly and desperate series of hits, it makes for a surprisingly monotonous sit for a movie that also features a killer named Mr. Freezy.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Seyfried expertly balances the girl-next-door star power that made the real Lovelace an unlikely casting choice with a more subtle strain of fear; Sarsgaard is as terrifying and hiss-worthy as he’s been since "Boys Don’t Cry."
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    At the Devil’s Door is reasonably absorbing but never scary or satirically sharp (despite references to mortgages and foreclosures). It mostly settles for inducing sensation.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Ironically for a movie about the ratings value of shock, Évocateur suffers from its own lack of red meat.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Loud and annoying? Occasionally. Funny? Sometimes. Likely to be noticed by filmgoers six months from now? Not really.
    • 32 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    It’s hard to escape the sense that Plastic is itself a cheap knockoff, but the point is not to look too closely.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    When our hero finally does get his moment in the sun--c'mon, would someone have bought the movie if he didn't?--My Date With Drew offers the surreal spectacle of pursuer and pursued pleasantly gabbing, obliviously immersed in a mutual PR stunt.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Exist is prone to posturing. Demonstrating a noble if wishy-washy faith in activism's power to save the world, the film amounts to a brief, earnest howl against apathy--easily dismissible for those unsympathetic to its views and basically useless for everyone else.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Step Up All In, directed by the dancer and choreographer Trish Sie, signals a slight retreat from the bonkers, protest-themed “Step Up Revolution."
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The more Chapman reveals, the less seems to be going on, and the more its quirkier developments... play like independent-film clichés.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Its Saul Bass-y credits suggest an Almodóvarian flamboyance, but this impotent '70s-set comedy mostly skimps on discoteca stylishness.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The film ultimately lands uneasily on the line between inside and insular, recalling an old saw about universities: The fights are so fierce because the stakes are so small.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    It’s hard not to root for this couple — and, more to the point, these actors — to get together again.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Lightness of touch is missing from the film, which features animated graphics and an ominous score.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    It’s inspired enough to draw attention to ways that it doesn’t realize its potential.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The main drawback of Inner Demons, no matter how skillful the presentation may be here, is the overriding sense that this has all been done before.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Even the sitcom stylings might not matter if the movie were funny, but in spite of the potential for Guffman-esque comedy, The English Teacher boasts few surprises—except perhaps its message, which seems to be that selling out isn’t so bad. Chalk it up to a case of “write what you know.”
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    While The Naked Room may raise awareness, it often feels voyeuristic in less productive ways.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Half of a Yellow Sun, adapted from the 2006 novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, emerges on screen as a well-acted, finely wrought epic that nevertheless struggles to balance the requirements of melodrama with its drive to capture a historical moment.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    If it weren’t for the costumes, the basic plot could be mistaken for a 19th-century version of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" or "Double Indemnity."
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Mr. Auteuil’s passion project is sincere but not successful, honorable but not alive.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The setup promises more intrigue than the film ultimately delivers.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    It’s hard to think of another movie in which Jesus’ followers are so clearly shown as Jews themselves. There’s a quietly powerful post-Crucifixion scene in which the disciples say Kaddish for their fallen leader.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Interjections from perennial second bananas Kathryn Hahn (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) and Kal Penn (winning even when not conjuring vivified bags of pot) generate the only sparks.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Preposterous as it is, The Calling remains stubbornly suspenseful until near the end.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    A mockumentary that exhausts its best joke with its premise.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    It’s possible to admire the four directors’ unflinching depiction of the dying process, but the film is mostly unilluminating and grim — not least because almost all of the deaths discussed are untimely.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    On the Way to School never wavers in its bland uplift.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Is this an allegory against blind deference to fascism? It might be, but the root-for-the-Aryan-jock dramatics seem mildly fascist themselves.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    As the plot clogs up with foreseeable reversals, wisecrack duties go to Mr. McShane, whose oracular character keeps wrongly predicting his own death. Like Hercules, the movie is plagued by a split identity: It’s half-slog, half-Mel Brooks.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The appealing Mr. Corden manages the not insignificant task of maintaining interest in a story whose climax has already been passed around on YouTube.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    There is something to be said for a thriller that rips along with no regard for anything other than its own pace, coasting on Mr. Brosnan’s blunter-than-Bond suavity and Ms. Kurylenko’s beauty.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Lacking a formal script, the actors struggle with a plot so elemental that it might have played more persuasively as a silent-screen melodrama.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    While the results are more creepy than charming — too childish for adults, though not necessarily too dark for children — it is hard to fault Mr. Goodwill for trying.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    [An] endearing muddle, which flails in search of an identity.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Farewell to Hollywood is moving yet queasily unsettling, even if Ms. Nicholson’s enthusiasm mitigates the veneer of exploitation. Watching it feels like judging a last will and testament. The movie is an intimate dialogue from which viewers may prefer to recuse themselves.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    It is possible to admire Mr. Kalman and Ms. Horn’s ambition and at the same time have no idea what they were trying to achieve.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    While "Room 237" sought evidence for its most outlandish conceits, The Nightmare declines to delve. As the testimonies grow repetitive, the strategy suggests willful ignorance.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    It’s not entirely clear what this faithful, slightly creaky new rendering, adapted and directed by the actor Daniel Auteuil, has to offer.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The movie’s snap and affection put other recent zombie-related entertainments to shame, and the in-jokes...are a Dante signature. But the freedom of the director’s best work is missing.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The director, Oren Jacoby, who made the Oscar-nominated short “Sister Rose’s Passion” and the feature “Constantine’s Sword,” doesn’t give My Italian Secret much structural or chronological organization. The anecdotal presentation sometimes seems more suited for museum browsing than for viewing in a theater.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    As an absurdist suspense film, Jackpot mostly hits its marks. As a comedy, it’s less successful, stronger on sight gags than on the detective’s sarcasm.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    This low-key drama so insistently resists epiphanies that it verges on bland.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The director, Tom Harper, seems less interested in allegory than in monotonous, conventional goosing, the kind that involves flickering lights and a creaky rocking chair.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Some wonderful actors add class to the material, which struggles to find a consistent register of cartoonishness.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    By conveniently exempting its protagonists from ideology or culpability, Generation War feels less like a reckoning than a dodge: Yes, your grandparents may have been Nazis—but they could have been these nice people, too.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    This movie’s earnest infectiousness is tough to deny.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Employing bursts of Bach and English-language narration, this lulling, informative documentary never fully grapples with its topic’s complexity.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Those looking for a refresher course on the workings of the food chain should be in heaven. All others may yearn for a sushi break.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    First-time writer-director Richard Ledes's mystical tone and pervasive swipes from David Lynch tend to suffocate his satire, and stunt casting doesn't help.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Great Museum, in comparison, feels like a cursory guided tour.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    A perfectly serviceable entry in the young-adult dystopian sweepstakes.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The movie is an object lesson in how a remarkable subject can be turned into a less remarkable film.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    This documentary goes heavy on the schmaltz, in all senses.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The movie pulls the rug out from under the audience several times, but in the end there is not much underneath.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Private never reconciles its conflicting impulses, and consequently, the human impact of the struggle--so powerfully explored in "Paradise Now" and "The Syrian Bride" --never acquires the emotional weight it should. The semi-absurdist closer amounts to little more than a knee-jerk declaration of hopelessness.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Adults will be restless as stabled bucks, but even children may need unusually high Ritalin doses to slog through the visual and dramatic indifference on display.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Cast with winning actors (particularly Molly Blixt Egelind as Dyrholm’s daughter) who seem determined not to distract viewers from the coastal backdrops, Love Is All You Need proceeds in all the expected directions short of actually including The Beatles.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The movie has a nationalistic, didactic flavor and a tiresome devotion to spectacle. Even the climax is staged two ways.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Develops into a lively but simpleminded valentine to liberal tolerance.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The film is stronger with its moment-to-moment tension than with its cynical, shallow media satire.

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