Ben Kenigsberg

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For 302 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 8.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Ben Kenigsberg's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 51
Highest review score: 100 At Berkeley
Lowest review score: 0 Date Movie
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 80 out of 302
  2. Negative: 51 out of 302
302 movie reviews
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Although the narrative contains echoes of “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II” — and perhaps “Casino,” in that much of it is structured as a flashback from an assassination attempt — “Gangs” lacks the poetry and character interest of those films.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Ben Kenigsberg
    In its humor, its fairy tale origins and the characters’ rounded features, it plays more like a vintage Disney work, only nimbler and freer.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Maidan is a film of scale and immediacy, finding artistry, for better or worse, in bearing witness.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Ben Kenigsberg
    The puzzle-box narrative only grows more hypnotic with repeat viewings. The movie insists on having the audience, like Ventura, pass through madness to reach catharsis.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Second Mother goes soft toward the end, defusing its conflicts too easily and inconsequentially.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Ben Kenigsberg
    An exhilarating, four-hour immersion in life at the University Of California campus.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Ben Kenigsberg
    It is provocative simply in showing how trust is gained and kept, even after the swindled kids have understood their robbers’ motives.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Ben Kenigsberg
    In its graceful superimpositions and its use of water to evoke a more idyllic time (particularly in a rainy flashback set to Neil Young), Inherent Vice is very much a companion piece to "The Master."
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Ben Kenigsberg
    With an eye for landscapes stunning and hellish, [Mr. Sauper] is the rare documentary filmmaker who not only takes on tough subjects but also explores them with a vivid visual and aural approach.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Ben Kenigsberg
    Mr. Zürcher has concocted something intimate yet otherworldly with this highly original debut.
    • 80 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
    • 90 Ben Kenigsberg
    This is a Christmas movie in which magic exists largely on the periphery, and that is just the right mix of chilly and sweet.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Ben Kenigsberg
    Like its narrative, this gripping film rarely veers in the expected directions — and is never easy to pin down.
    • 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."
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Ben Kenigsberg
    Unlikely as it may seem, though, Blue Jasmine finds Allen charting bona fide new territory.
    • 78 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Ben Kenigsberg
    If, at barely more than an hour, the movie initially seems slight, its inconsequentiality might be better viewed as polemical.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Ben Kenigsberg
    The film is both a generous primer on the band, which grew out of the punk movement in Leeds, England, in 1977, and a celebration of its longevity.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    At the time of a fervent national debate on race and justice, part of what is impressive about 3 ½ Minutes is the cool temperature at which it is often served.
    • 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.)
    • 76 Metascore
    • 67 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Lunchbox ultimately registers as a too-hesitant portrayal of hesitancy, and its pleasures are largely incidental.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    This affectionate documentary is more of a bonbon for longtime fans than an entryway for a broader audience.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    While Peace Officer could offer more information, what is here is disturbing and sometimes eye-opening.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Ben Kenigsberg
    A generous and briskly entertaining doc.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    McCullin is not a groundbreaking documentary, but it wears its conventional format well, taking its cues (and its power) from the photographs themselves.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Ben Kenigsberg
    The bitterly funny, multistrand Involuntary, from 2008, is a step forward in the director’s ambition.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery is a case in which a great documentary topic hasn’t yielded a great documentary.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Loushy skillfully and briskly excerpts the material, although the film falls somewhere on the line between formal documentary and assemblage.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    The film is accessible and often hypnotic on an intuitive level.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Director Kirby Dick (Derrida) shapes the movie in such a way as to leave everyone flummoxed.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Ironically for a movie about the ratings value of shock, Évocateur suffers from its own lack of red meat.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    Develops into a lively but simpleminded valentine to liberal tolerance.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Ben Kenigsberg
    The insights the movie has aren’t exceptional; this stranger-than-fiction series of events is enough.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 42 Ben Kenigsberg
    The relentless contrast of banality with horror seems to be Wheatley’s signature move, and like his "Kill List" (2011), Sightseers can claim a sizable fan base, especially in its native U.K. But the humor here, ironically, doesn’t travel well.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Vessel becomes a film not just about abortion but also about activism. It raises provocative questions about the power of laws to police information in an increasingly globalized world.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 68 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.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Even if this minor coda plays to an increasingly closed circle of admirers, it gives the trilogy a pleasing, moving symmetry.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    [A] dryly funny, enigmatic new work.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 40 Ben Kenigsberg
    For more than an hour, schmaltzmeister Luis Mandoki (Message in a Bottle) directs as if on assignment for Miramax.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    The subject matter makes The Tainted Veil much more visually interesting than many issue-oriented documentaries, though the thriller-like score goes too far in trying to counter dryness.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Great Museum, in comparison, feels like a cursory guided tour.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Ben Kenigsberg
    Whatever reservations it prompts, the film is innovative, original, and queasily effective.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 58 Ben Kenigsberg
    Like adolescence itself, Teenage is educational, scattered, and over much too quickly.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Ben Kenigsberg
    The humor of this situation — or of any of the movie’s strained wackiness — doesn’t particularly translate. It also does little to illuminate the more serious commentary on immigration, the legacy of colonialism and the tensions within the country’s Algerian communities.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    The Hand That Feeds is an effective portrayal of the intricacies of activism — and of a situation in which victories seem all too brief.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    The movie is an object lesson in how a remarkable subject can be turned into a less remarkable film.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Ben Kenigsberg
    Shedding light on the filmmaking process would have only enriched this well-wrought but limited extreme-sports portrait.
    • 63 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Ben Kenigsberg
    Antarctic Edge illustrates its points effectively, providing vivid evidence of how shrinking ice at the South Pole affects climates across the globe.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 25 Ben Kenigsberg
    What’s hypnotic for five minutes at the Whitney Museum does not necessarily carry over to an 80-minute movie, and Visitors might conceivably run half that length without the slow motion. Reggio’s film premiered in Toronto with live musical accompaniment, a gimmick that probably enhanced the experiential aspect of what’s otherwise a glorified installation piece.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Ben Kenigsberg
    This documentary goes heavy on the schmaltz, in all senses.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

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