Ben Kenigsberg
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For 200 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 35% higher than the average critic
  • 7% same as the average critic
  • 58% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.5 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: 48 out of 200
  2. Negative: 36 out of 200
200 movie reviews
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Ben Kenigsberg
    An exhilarating, four-hour immersion in life at the University Of California campus.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Ben Kenigsberg
    Mr. Zürcher has concocted something intimate yet otherworldly with this highly original debut.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Ben Kenigsberg
    Above all, Frances Ha is a wry and moving portrait of friendship, highlighting the way that two people who know everything about each other can nevertheless grow apart as their needs change.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Last Of The Unjust is demanding but fascinating, both as history and as an intellectual volley on the lure of power, the ambiguities of perspective, and the difficulty of claiming moral high ground in a context where matters of life and death are so precarious.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Ben Kenigsberg
    Like its narrative, this gripping film rarely veers in the expected directions — and is never easy to pin down.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Ben Kenigsberg
    Unlikely as it may seem, though, Blue Jasmine finds Allen charting bona fide new territory.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 83 Ben Kenigsberg
    The movie captures a moment when the lines separating anonymity, fame, and notoriety are finer than ever. And as Watson’s social climber prattles on to reporters about what a great “learning lesson” her criminal experience has been, it’s easy to see another star in the making.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Ben Kenigsberg
    While it’s heartbreaking that the movie never got made (son Brontis Jodorowsky, who would have played Paul Atreides, is particularly poignant imagining his alternate life as a superstar), Jodorowsky’s Dune posits that the raw materials nevertheless left an enduring mark on cinematic sci-fi, providing the basis for famous aspects of "Alien," "Star Wars," and "Contact."
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Final Member boasts a stranger-than-fiction subject so odd and funny it almost couldn’t miss. But Bekhor and Math make the film much more than a limp gag.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Ben Kenigsberg
    Mr. Schwarz falters with his ending, which feels overly tidy. Still, it’s not the destination; it’s the journey.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Ben Kenigsberg
    This absorbing account of the first recorded summit of the world’s highest mountain is a rare documentary for which re-enactments make complete sense.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Ben Kenigsberg
    The entire film unfolds in a recognizable register of ominous hesitation; the results are a bit schematic but nevertheless hit on something real.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Ben Kenigsberg
    As philosophy, Mr. Nobody seems sillier than it is profound. But in a parallel reality, more movies would have this degree of insane ambition.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Ben Kenigsberg
    As withholding as it may be in terms of narrative, Stranger places rare faith in the viewer’s visual sense. Guiraudie presents his widescreen long takes with little inflection, conjuring suspense simply from the sounds of crackling leaves and other hallmarks of the natural (or is it au naturel?) realm.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Ben Kenigsberg
    Those who want to see Armstrong sweat may leave disappointed. Calm and seemingly well rehearsed in interviews, Armstrong shrugs off years of public statements without ever seeming truly remorseful.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Ben Kenigsberg
    Whatever reservations it prompts, the film is innovative, original, and queasily effective.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Entertaining enough that it leaves one wishing for more in the way of android mythology—a pint-sized Blade Runner or A.I. The screenplay goes on autopilot, grinding toward a happy ending just when it has a shot at something darker and more memorable.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Davis strives to keep himself out of the film, favoring a harrowing yet compassionate you-are-there aesthetic that underscores the hardship of the migrant workers' struggles.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Director Kirby Dick (Derrida) shapes the movie in such a way as to leave everyone flummoxed.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Find Me Guilty is overlong and often sitcomy, but it's also pleasantly old-school, with a tone, soundtrack, and even a title-card font that suggest a mellow but not senile Woody Allen.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    For the right age group, though, the film hits its marks: It’s wholesome, engaging and rife with impressive aquatic photography.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    As a late-summer caper movie, it hits the spot. The film offers the intriguing contrast of actors and a director (Daniel Schechter) taking a different approach to known material.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Case Against 8 functions as a valuable record of the nuts-and-bolts conference room side of advocacy — an aspect of civil rights work not often seen on screen.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Known for his genre pastiches, the director, Álex de la Iglesia (“El Crimen Perfecto”), rarely lets the pace flag, and the buddy comedy, gross-out humor and horror elements make for a harmonious mix.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Mr. Chan’s skill with actors — particularly with Ms. Mei and Mr. Pang’s persuasive, easygoing banter — compensates for the story’s limitations.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    It’s both a credit to, and a shortcoming of, the movie that it suggests an illustrated bibliography. It makes you want to stop watching and, instead, read or reread all of the pieces mentioned.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    Rush, in other words, is a foursquare sportsmanship movie, offering little in the way of surprises but plenty of earnest, satisfying thrills.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    All of McKay’s movies improve on repeat viewings, as they become familiar and meme worthy. If Anchorman 2 seems hit-and-miss now, there’s a significant chance that it will get funnier over the long haul.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    As history, The Butler’s parade of famous moments and figures is superficial to the point of trivialization, reducing years of turmoil to glib sound bites. But in its square, melodramatic way, the movie has a serious point to make.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    After establishing a jaunty tone with its candy-colored, Saul Bass–style opening credits, the film racks up a high strain-to-laugh ratio; there’s a sense Almodóvar can’t quite keep track of all his gags.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    The movie maintains a relentless grip all the same. Unlike the junior kingpins who bear witness to the film’s big blaze, audiences won’t watch in a passive state.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    As a polemic, Dirty Wars is provocative and productively depressing, raising doubts about the effectiveness of military missions that have the potential to create ideological enemies, as well as the degree to which elected officials can—or are willing to—place checks on secret ops. (Obama gets no more points than Bush in any of the matters discussed.)
    • 54 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    The most counterintuitive enviro-doc of the year, Pandora’s Promise makes the case that nuclear power may be the closest thing Earth has to a sustainable, realistic supply of energy.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    "Life Is Beautiful" may or may not have set a benchmark for tackiness in Holocaust cinema, but The Book Thief offers a hypothetical way in which the former might have been worse: At least it wasn’t narrated by Death.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    Judicious editing helps to maintain the illusion of two actors, though the quick-speaking Wasikowska, as the twins’ flighty, mercurial object of desire, in some ways has the subtlest task—and often steals scenes from her co-star(s).
    • 67 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    Ultimately, American Promise seems split between a personal perspective and a broader one. It’s a bold experiment that’s also a textbook case of filmmakers being too close to their material.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    Fading Gigolo is not an entirely coherent film. It is, for the right and wrong reasons, a distinctive and memorable one.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    Sal
    Despite its modest proportions and chilling finale, Sal is foremost an affectionate tribute, conjuring ample warmth out of relatively little.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    Basically, Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? amounts to two men having a mellow discussion about the nature of ideas; it’s formally limited, yet wide-ranging in its material and ambitions. Call it a case of cognitive dissonance.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    This is all fascinating for art-history buffs, and while a documentary is the ideal vehicle for illustrating Jenison’s process, Tim’s Vermeer plays more like an extended PBS special than it does a movie.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Raid 2 takes a substantially different tack from that of its 2011 predecessor, adding a convoluted plot and only intermittently attending to the sort of acrobatic ass-kicking for which the original became a global smash.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Lunchbox ultimately registers as a too-hesitant portrayal of hesitancy, and its pleasures are largely incidental.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    The scowling Pitt proves no match for the Tony-winning Arianda, whose brassy, thick-accented positivity could probably cut down the gangsters as mercilessly as any gun. While the pair is robbing the mob, she’s stealing the movie.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Lighthearted foray into the world of competitive eating.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Shedding light on the filmmaking process would have only enriched this well-wrought but limited extreme-sports portrait.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 53 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Like adolescence itself, Teenage is educational, scattered, and over much too quickly.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Develops into a lively but simpleminded valentine to liberal tolerance.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    A mockumentary that exhausts its best joke with its premise.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    A perfectly serviceable entry in the young-adult dystopian sweepstakes.
    • 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.”
    • 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.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The setup promises more intrigue than the film ultimately delivers.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    [An] endearing muddle, which flails in search of an identity.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    It’s inspired enough to draw attention to ways that it doesn’t realize its potential.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Lightness of touch is missing from the film, which features animated graphics and an ominous score.