James Berardinelli, ReelViews
Select another critic »
For 2,664 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 65% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 33% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 6.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Berardinelli's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Minority Report
Lowest review score: 0 Feast
Score distribution:
2,664 movie reviews
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Deep Water is a documentary, but it's also one part adventure film, one part Greek tragedy, and one part meditation on the role of the "hero" in modern society.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Not since "The Crying Game" has Jordan crafted as compelling a motion picture.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Into the Wild is a beautifully made motion picture and some of the segments (especially those with Hal Holbrook and those that transpire around "the magic bus" in Alaska) are powerful.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The sex is REALLY hot. Not hardcore pornographic (at least by my definition of the term) but close.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Gone Baby Gone is powerful stuff - a movie that derives its plot twists from moral conundrums rather than from narrative sleight of hand.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Emotionally challenging and honest.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It’s mostly an off-kilter road trip that accomplishes what the Coens do best - seamlessly merging drama, violence, and quirky humor into a whole.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    What a horror film SHOULD be - dark, tense, and punctuated by just enough gore to keep the viewer's flinch reflex intact.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is an offering for mature viewers thrown out amidst a sea of summer flotsam. The title, Elegy, is perfect for the material. There is much tragedy and truth in what the makers of this movie have brought to the screen.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Juno has a great heroine and is blessed by a screenplay that doesn't try to do too much and finds the perfect ending.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Atonement is effective at getting under the skin, and some audience members won't like that.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    At times brutal, at times touching, the movie stands out as one of the better "prestige" productions offered for cinematic consumption during the waning weeks of 2007.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    With its rapid pace, smart screenplay, and top-notch acting, this is one of the 2007 Oscar season's most appealing and compelling adult motion pictures.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Ultimately an uplifting movie because it is about triumph.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Despite being slow and deliberate, it is often compelling and occasionally riveting. As "The Lives of Others" was in 2007, this is the first memorable movie of 2008.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Adams shines brightly, reinforcing the image she projected in Junebug and enhanced in Enchanted and Charlie Wilson's War. At this time of the year, it's tough to find a more diverting way to spend 90 minutes in a multiplex.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    There's a wit in Segel's writing that marks him as every bit Apatow's equal in this arena.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Like nearly any thriller, no matter how intelligently and tightly plotted, it is possible to poke holes in its fabric. But, as it's unspooling in the theater, it makes for a wonderful movie house experience. Here's a sleeper worth a few extra miles' travel to see.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    When it comes to tone, Iron Man achieves something at which many of even its most celebrated predecessors have failed: it doesn't FEEL like a superhero movie. Instead, it's bigger and more inclusive.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Edge of Heaven is marked by a number of remarkable performances.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Put simply, WALL-E is about as charming as movies get.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Wonderfully romantic and romantically bittersweet. It's not about forever; it's about now.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Body of Lies neither panders nor condescends. It involves current events and has a political viewpoint, but it overplays neither.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Howard and Morgan have transformed this story into something more than an embellished re-telling of recent history. They have shaped a tragedy that is almost Shakespearean in force.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The other actress to stand out is, unsurprisingly, Queen Latifa, whose intense screen presence makes her a force to be reckoned with even when she's simply standing in the background, not saying anything.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The result is magical and life affirming, and will enrapture those who are not scared away by the mention of "subtitles."
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Milk feels like an important picture, but not in a way that makes it tedious to watch. There's no pretentious sheen to the proceedings.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Revolutionary Road is a fine motion picture, but it's not a good choice to lighten a burden or brighten a night. It rewards in the ways that only tragedies can.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    There's no denying the film's power of compulsion and the sense that, when it's all over, it means something. Most viewers will be entertained and moved, and some will find their intellect aroused.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Aronofsky's directorial style is simple and spare. There are no flourishes or attempts to convince us that he is a master of his craft.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Considering the strength of performances given by the 25-or-so teenage actors portraying the students, it's amazing that none of them have previous experience.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    More substantive than the average thriller/road movie.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The result is a sharp, insightful, charming motion picture.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Anyone who watches District 9 and doesn't think of Apartheid, Nazis, and Josef Mengele needs to spend some time reading a few history books.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The strength of the acting and the modulation of the screenplay transforms what could have been a run-of-the-mill Lifetime disease-of-the-week movie into something more insightful and intelligent.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The casting is perfect. Webb has chosen leads who are familiar but not overexposed, and who are on equal footing (neither overshadows the other).
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a tense, well-crafted motion picture that keeps viewers on edge. It's an exhausting 130 minutes; many viewers will leave the theater feeling drained.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    After the chaos of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," it's refreshing to encounter a science fiction film that respects the intelligence and attention span of an adult.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Manages the task of being both heartbreaking and heart-warming.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Randy Newman's songs are catchy and are effective within the movie's context, but I can't see any of them having "legs" beyond the screen the way tunes from the earlier animated musicals did.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Dancing along a line just shy of the edge of brilliance, In the Loop possesses an incisive, take-no-prisoners comedic style that offers plenty of solid laughs while making a point about the stupidity, selfishness, and lack of awareness that exists within the highest echelons of government.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The tone is perfect; this is one of those rare films that, despite being rooted firmly in the world around us, is utterly absorbing and capable of reducing the immediacies of life into abstract thoughts in the back of one's mind.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Brothers is arguably the most successful remake of a foreign film since Martin Scorsese reworked "Infernal Affairs" into "The Departed" and won the Oscar.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The presence of so many low-key performers gives A Serious Man a very different, distinctly non-Hollywood vibe. The absence of familiar faces allows the Coens to fully immerse their audience in the time (1967) and place (the U.S. Midwest) of the story.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Toy Story 3 enhances the legacy of its brand while providing exceptional entertainment value for viewers of all ages, especially for those who favor the brighter, livelier 2-D iteration over the 3-D gimmick.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Reitman brings the same mixture of comedy and drama to this movie that he brought to "Juno."
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In the end, this is more a character study of Jenny than a tale of tortured love, and a reminder that any education worth having comes with its share of trauma.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Damon's prior appearances as Jason Bourne make him credible in this role.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    As in all powerful films, the content unfolds onion-like, with each level being peeled back to show something fascinating beneath.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's not comfortable but it is engrossing.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Balances character development with plot, and that's crucial to its success.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Can be best categorized as a fantasy adventure. Unlike many animated movies, it's not a musical, nor is it overstuffed with age-appropriate comedy,
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The best superhero movie since "The Dark Knight" (and far less serious in tone or approach), Kick-Ass earns its name in every way.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is tailor made for those who like their gore leavened with thought-provoking ideas - something that is a rarity in this genre.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Cyrus is affecting, but not in a clean, easily recognizable way. It is funny, but in a warped manner more likely to provoke unease than unbridled laughter.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The versatile actor brings the full weight of his talent to bear on a difficult role. DiCaprio has to hint at unpleasant secrets in Cobb's past while forging a bond with the audience. It's up to the performer to make Inception more about human beings than about special effects. He succeeds and that's one reason why this movie isn't only about challenging ideas and eye candy.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Father of My Children is exceptional drama. Compelling and unforced, it shows sensitivity and evenhandedness in approaching a difficult subject.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Cholodenko, whose previous features include the pretentious "High Art" and the sudsy "Laurel Canyon," pitches The Kids Are All Right at right level - there's enough light comedy to leaven the melodrama and keep it from becoming overbearing.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A firecracker of a story - sharply written, superbly acted, and fast-paced.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is not the first time Wright has shown his understanding for such things, nor is this the first occasion in which he has displayed a strong sense of comedic timing, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World feels fresher and more inspired than his previous outings, and that makes it an excellent source of late-summer entertainment.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Flipped is Rob Reiner's best film in 18 years, and includes echoes of two of his most accomplished efforts, "The Sure Thing" and "Stand By Me."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The movie works not because of twists and switchbacks in the narrative, but because of the skill with which Cortés has conceived this singularly disturbing nightmare.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Eisenberg, one of those young actors who has existed just below the radar for several years now (he was the lead in both "Zombieland" and "Adventureland," not to be confused with one another), deserves an Oscar for this dead-on portrayal of a temperamental genius.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The look and feel of Black Swan, which captures the essence of a major New York ballet production, is one of Aronofsky's great successes.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The result, bolstered by strong acting and an intriguing back story, is an unqualified success. Love and Other Drugs may be the most honest romance to grace the screens during all of 2010.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Coens have fashioned one of the best Westerns in recent years - a modern reworking of a classic that never feels superfluous.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Delivers solid drama with a rousing climax - a fully satisfying and uplifting period piece that achieves its dramatic potential without sacrificing historical accuracy.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Uncompromising, painful, and at times difficult to watch, this movie lays bare more than a few raw nerves. Some viewers will find it too real, too immediate. It's an experience, to be sure, but I wouldn't classify it as entertainment.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The cumulative experience leaves an aftertaste that, although not bitter, is too strong to be easily washed away. That's the mark of a worthwhile motion picture.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Rango is the poster child for those who are anti-3-D, and a great reminder that genuine creativity doesn't need a gimmicky crutch to appeal to audiences.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Although it would be an exaggeration to claim that Hanna "has it all," it is a richer and more compelling white-knuckler than the average roller coaster ride into tension and mystery.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In some ways, it's a simple character drama, but the central conundrum disallows an uncomplicated interpretation. I was never bored.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Tree of Life falls short of masterful but retains a power that far too many motion pictures lack. It's about SOMETHING and, even when it fails, it does so in a manner that is interesting and not infantile.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Super 8 is in many ways a perfect summer movie: smart, exciting, heartfelt, and suffused with nostalgia.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Overall, Part 2 tells a more compelling and emotionally fulfilling tale than the one related in Part 1, although that could be a result of this movie having a conclusion - something its predecessor notably lacked.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    O'Connor gives the film a dark, moody look, which is the best choice for so many roiling emotions. This is not a traditional stand-up-and-cheer fight movie; the undercurrents are too strong and deep.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    From the beginning, it's clear this is not a standard-order action film. It takes its characters as seriously as its chases, shootouts, and fights.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a deeply cynical movie and, in that cynicism, it finds truth.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The movie with which it has the closest relationship may be "Glengarry Glen Ross." The same sense of desperation, the same need to make the sale, permeates Margin Call. Both films are to some degree about the dehumanizing impact of money and both are driven more by characters than plot points.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Martha Marcy May Marlene offers a challenging, emotionally riveting experience, even if the conclusion dangles at the edge of an unresolvable cliffhanger.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The two most moving scenes require extraordinary performances from supporting players...Forster is as deserving of a supporting actor nomination as anyone I have seen this year.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    With Hugo, Martin Scorsese has accomplished what few in Hollywood are willing to try: make a movie for adults that arrives without sex, violence, or profanity and earns a PG-rating.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's neither glamorous nor erotic and director Steve McQueen has taken an unflinching and non-judgmental view of sexual addiction in Shame.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A meditation on the pain suffered by a mother when her child turns out to be a monster, We Need to Talk about Kevin is the perfect tonic for holiday cheer.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Director Stephen Daldry has fashioned an emotionally powerful cinematic testimony about that horrific late summer day.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Hazanavicius isn't just making a "silent movie," he is attempting to enter a time warp and craft something that would fool all but the most studious and scholarly into believing it could have been a lost film from a bygone era. If his tongue is sometimes a little in his cheek, that's all part of the fun.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It is a mystery and a courtroom drama. Above all, however, it is a tale of love and sacrifice.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The purpose of Bully is to educate and promote discussion. If the problem is not solved, there will be more Columbines and additional stories like Tyler and Ty's.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Avengers kicks ass.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Enjoy this movie for what it is - the kind of motion picture that can cause Champaign-like giddiness - and don't obsess over how true-to-life this work of fiction is.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Moonrise Kingdom is lovingly crafted with an attention to detail that is breathtaking while, at the same time, it displays genuine affection for its young protagonists.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Dark Knight Rises ultimately justifies its length (in fact, a good argument could be made for a longer cut) and the last 45 minutes is nothing short of spectacular. From the point where the narrative takes a leap of faith, it never lets up.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Parts of Ruby Sparks are glowing and gentle. Others are harsh. Still others are wrenching. The transitions are expertly handled, never seeming jarring or inappropriate. If the movie feels like two shorter pieces grafted at the middle, that's an intentional decision. The filmmakers give us something approaching a traditional romantic comedy before deconstructing it.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The truth can indeed be stranger than fiction and, in this case, were the story to have originated in the imagination of the screenwriter, it could rightfully be criticized as artificial and contrived. But, disturbing and unlikely as it may be, this stuff actually happened, and pretty much as Craig Zobel relates it.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The problem with End of Watch, a gripping police drama, is director David Ayer's stylistic decision to shoot nearly the entire movie tripod-less. Or, to put it another way, there's a whole lotta shakin' going on.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Recognizing that many of the movie's elements are lifted from actual events elevates the importance of what the movie has to say.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Skyfall can take its place alongside "From Russia with Love," "Goldfinger," and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" as the best Bond can offer.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Ultimately, this is an engaging, uplifting, and life-affirming motion picture that reminds viewers that it is possible to do interesting things with a romantic comedy while still sticking to some of the conventions.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Lincoln paints a powerful and compelling portrait of the man who has become an icon. We don't need to see more of his life to understand how rare a figure he was - this window is more than sufficient.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Even some who generally enjoy gangster films may be turned off by this one, with its focus on dialogue over action and its harsh style.