For 39 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Caryn James' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 53
Highest review score: 90 Nobody's Fool
Lowest review score: 10 Problem Child
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 39
  2. Negative: 7 out of 39
39 movie reviews
    • 25 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    When Stoney explains that Milk Duds belong to one of the four major food groups, the dairy group, that's about as funny as things get. For a film that prides itself on throwing around Pauly-isms like fully (meaning yes), and grindage (food), Encino Man is surprisingly not buff (cool).
    • 36 Metascore
    • 10 Caryn James
    In Road House, Patrick Swayze has the most laughable role since Tom Cruise juggled a few liquor bottles and danced to ''The Hippy Hippy Shakes'' in Cocktail...Next to Dalton, Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing seems like Hamlet. Mr. Swayze does some dirty fighting here, but mostly the role requires a blank expression. At this point, Road House makes his career look like a bad joke.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    This intelligent, revolting, artistically made and entirely empty look at a murderer comes close to a cinema of pure technique. It is profoundly disturbing, even more for the questions it raises about the use of film than for the mutilated bodies that litter the screen.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    Hoop Dreams affirms the role of film as a medium for exploring social issues. And like any important documentary, this one raises crucial questions beyond what is on screen.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    In this film, suspense and psychological horror have given way to superhuman strength and resilience...The one effectively handled scene is the last, which promises a sequel with a feminist twist.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    Can't Buy Me Love has an identity crisis that's a mirror-image of Ronald's own. He thinks he wants popularity at any price, though he's really a sincere guy. The film thinks it wants to be sincere, when all it truly wants is to be popular, just like the other kids' movies, so it sells off its originality.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    It is refreshing to see so much style and life in the old undead tale, and to watch this strong cast with its perfect deadpan attitudes.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    Disturbing for all the wrong reasons.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    Howard the Duck' begins as a mild satire about a duck who fell to earth, but midway through, the star is upstaged by horrifying demons and dazzling light shows.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    Major League trots out the standard formula, but has the wit to make fun of it now and then. The film is so loopy that it glides over its cliches and indulges in some congenial movie-baseball silliness.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    It is a dark, lurid revenge fantasy and not the breakthrough, star-making movie some people have claimed. But it is a genre film of a high order, stylish and smooth.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    Anyone old enough to have a license is probably much too old to be amused by License to Drive. Though the plot and action never get better than a television movie of the week, the engaging cast brings much more style to the material than it deserves. [06 July 1988, p.C17]
    • The New York Times
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    Flatliners is a stylish, eerie psychological horror film laced with wit, a movie that thrives on its characters' guilty secrets and succeeds on the strength of the director Joel Schumacher's flair for just this sort of smart, unpretentious entertainment.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    Mr. Romero, who adapted the screenplay from Michael Stewart's novel, wraps up more loose ends than anyone cares about, yet leaves some nagging bits of illogic.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    Darkman sustains mild interest throughout, but it never takes off, partly because a real-estate scam, gangland shootouts, city corruption and a love story clutter up the sad story of Westlake's strange mutation.
    • 15 Metascore
    • 30 Caryn James
    Lorraine Gary has some affecting moments as Ellen, but Jaws the Revenge is mild and predictable, the very things an adventure movie should never be.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    This third installment of the silly and often hilarious send-up of cop cliches is slower to start than the earlier Naked Gun movies. As always, it is a scattershot mix of throwaway lines, topical references and sight gags (a newspaper headline that reads: Dyslexia for Cure Found).
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    The director, Joe Johnston, paces this adventure to suit the film's tone. It is swift and smooth, never wild or raucous.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 20 Caryn James
    Prison has a generic, low-budget name, and for once you can judge a movie by its title. This prison-drama-meets-ghost-story turns out to be an object lesson in how cheaply and badly a film can be made.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    Casper is not the kind of smartly written movie that works on children's and adult levels at once. But with its lively pace, smashing visual tricks and one of the cutest heroes on screen, it is an engaging fantasy for very small children.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    Elm Street 4' does have an endless onslaught of astonishing, often grotesque special effects .Mr. Harlin only has to keep things moving, which he does with restless camera work, swirling high above Freddy and his victims. Freddy, who says I am eternal, seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, immune to directors and scripts.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    This paranoid fantasy is so resonant that it makes The Net an enjoyably creepy thriller, even though Irwin Winkler belongs to the nothing-is-too-obvious school of directing.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    The other miracle is that the two stars of It Could Happen to You keep it sailing over a script that is often as predictable and flat as the movie's new title.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    For all its clever updatings, stylish action and witty escapism, Licence to Kill is still a little too much by the book. Mr. Dalton is perfectly at home as an angry Bond, and as a romantic lead and as an action hero, but he never seems to blend any two of those qualities at once.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    There are some grotesquely stylish and scary moments in Phantasm II, the sequel to a 1979 film that Don Coscarelli made as a precocious 25-year-old. Unfortunately, these episdoes seem to take as long to arrive as the sequel did.
    • 8 Metascore
    • 20 Caryn James
    No one expects realism from a movie called Teen Wolf Too... still, the film makers could pretend to know what college is like, might try to liven up the kindly werewolf formula.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    If Nobody's Fool is often heartbreaking in its sense of loss, it is also hopeful in the strength of its emotions and the sheer beauty of its performances.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 30 Caryn James
    Comprised of so many derivative bits and pieces that it's not surprising the movie has too little narrative coherence or momentum to keep us going, and no characters we care about enough to root for.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Caryn James
    Death Wish 4 is as efficient and predictable as Kersey himself, and inoffensive as long as you can root for a sociopathic hero.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    The director, Roger Donaldson, best known for the Kevin Costner thriller No Way Out, keeps the film moving. But there is only so much suspense he can generate from this stock story and familiar-looking special effects. Species may work best for viewers who don't like to be too scared by horror movies; it's reassuringly familiar.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 70 Caryn James
    Stargate is a clever adventure that should find its audience.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    Mr. Mamet can be a first-rate film maker, and in works like House of Games and Homicide he trusts language as much as he relies on small, subtle camera movements. Here both the language and Mr. Mamet's film making let him down.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Caryn James
    Throughout, White is filled with exquisite scenes that don't press too hard...and those moments are all the richer for their understatement.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    Would have been better if it had been sleeker and shorter. After all, this film isn't aiming for high-toned drama, just high-energy entertainment, which is what it delivers.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 40 Caryn James
    Captain Kirk and his crew go where too many film makers have too often gone before.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 30 Caryn James
    Their best moments are some throwaway routines; they weep in the car as they sing along to the Carpenters' "Superstar." More often, the movie goes for stale, obvious sight gags like Tommy's slow destruction of Richard's precious car. As mismatched-buddy teams go, Felix and Oscar have nothing to worry about here.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 60 Caryn James
    The Seventh Continent is one of the most stylish films in this year's New Directors/New Films series. With its fragmented pattern of beautifully composed and repeated images from middle-class life, it rejuvenates a 1960's style that would seem to be exhausted by now. But the Austrian writer and director Michael Haneke pulls viewers through a good portion of the film on the sheer strength of his visual flair, avoiding the classic trap of how to create a film about boredom that is not boring.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Caryn James
    [A] delicate, lovingly photographed, strongly acted coming-of-age story.
    • 27 Metascore
    • 10 Caryn James
    As directed by the actor Dennis Dugan, everyone seems to be yelling their lines and making huge hand gestures instead of acting.

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