James Berardinelli, ReelViews
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For 2,666 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 Before Midnight
Lowest review score: 0 Bachelorette
Score distribution:
2,666 movie reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Imperfect as it may be, Bowling for Columbine is riveting stuff.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Gives life and meaning to an event that is little more than a footnote in history books (if that).
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    One hell of a ride. For better or for worse, it will leave you stunned and reeling.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Good, solid entertainment.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    What starts out as a seemingly-routine excursion into genre clichés emerges into a more complex and satisfying arena than most viewers will anticipate.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A smart movie that does not simplify or candy-coat the rigors of the teenage years.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Election has the sharpest satire of any teen movie made in years. Like the best lampoons, it attacks by exaggerating reality ever-so-slightly and targeting a broad range of subjects.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Thirty minutes into Waiting for Guffman, my stomach hurt from laughing.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Not a typical Disney family film -- thank god. Charming and thought-provoking, this is the kind of movie with the sweetness necessary to appeal to younger (although not too young) viewers and the philosophical richness to draw in veteran movie-goers.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    One of the reasons that Quiz Show is so extraordinary is because it spins a story as compelling on the personal level as on the national one.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Crafted without a whiff of melodrama, this motion picture takes a steady, unflinching look at the plight of Jews in Warsaw.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Tells a good, intelligent story that keeps us interested and involved.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Menace II Society has a devastating impact. Few films possess the power to keep an audience sitting in stunned silence after the end credits begin rolling, but this is one of them.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    There are moments of fun and humor, to be sure, but the undercurrent is of a far more serious, "adult" nature. The Lion King is primarily about guilt and redemption.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Has enough genuine laughs to eliminate the potential twitters and snickers, and it treats Edward and Lee as people. We end up caring about what happens to these two individuals, even as we smile and laugh at their antics.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's a thinking person's thriller, where pyrotechnics give way to plot, character development supplants fight scenes, and adrenaline does not short-circuit intelligence.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Isn't just an expose of the porn industry -- it's a provocative and involving character study, as well.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's an uncompromising movie that illustrates one of the most convincing personality transformations that I have seen in a recent motion picture.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Chilling and creepy, and there's no denying that the most celebrated aspect of the film -- the Clarice/Hannibal connection -- could not have been accomplished with greater skill.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    One of the most obvious problems with The Godfather Part III is that it covers little new territory. The plot is highly derivative of the original.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Has as much depth as it has energy and action.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    With its lack of car chases, fist fights, and over-the-top melodrama, the film has to rely on solid acting, an intelligent script, and capable directing.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    As is often the case with European films, the acting is superlative...The real standout, however, is newcomer Jaye Davidson, whose performance is, without exaggeration, stunning...Not to be missed.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In terms of power and effect, Eyes Wide Shut approaches (but does not surpass) Kubrick's vintage work - it is thought-provoking and unsettling.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Caused a major stir with Sundance, and for good reason -- it was perhaps the most offbeat, energetic, and eye-opening motion picture to screen there.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Where Happiness shines, however, is in the series of extraordinary performances given by the members of the diverse ensemble cast. Leading the group is Dylan Baker, whose turn as Bill is astounding.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    One of its most obvious strengths is that it can satisfy many different types of audiences -- those who demand something substantial from their motion pictures, and those who could care less.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Dark City has as stunning a visual texture as that of any movie that I've seen...Visually, this film isn't just impressive, it's a tour de force.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is one of the year's most unabashed and powerful love stories, using flawless performances, intelligent dialogue, crisp camera work, and loaded glances to attain a level of eroticism and emotional connection that many similar films miss.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    There's nothing new or unique about the story, but it is presented in a manner that reinforces its immediacy and impact.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    One of the most uplifting and delightful films to have come along this year.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    As much as any other motion picture that employs the preparation and consumption of food as a key element, Mostly Martha provides the perfect blend of cinematic nourishment and gratification.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A thoroughly enjoyable piece of cinema that does credit to its director and cast.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Not a masterpiece, but it's an example of how imagination, craftsmanship, and technological bravura can fashion superior entertainment out of something that is far from flawless.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In a time when, more often than not, sequels disappoint, it's refreshing to uncover something this high-profile that fulfils the promise of its name and adds another title to a storied legacy.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The film is as powerful as any narrative motion picture in telling a story that rips at the emotions.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Draws its audience along a rarely-traveled path whose scope can only be fully appreciated in the silence of the aftermath.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Whitmore's Brooks is a brilliantly-realized character, and the scenes with him attempting to cope with life outside of Shawshank represents one of the film's most moving -- and effective -- sequences.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Almodovar also manages to conclude the film on a hopeful note, and one that will have many audience members wishing that he will someday return to tell more about these characters.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Unlike in many character studies, the plot is more than just a simple framework. It is complex and unpredictable, and, as a result, provides the perfect means to better get to know the characters and understand the shifting nature of their relationship.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Despite the grim, serious nature of the subject matter, Meirelles unearths occasional moments of humor, although they are often of the gallows variety.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Fincher eschews quick cuts in favor of long, leisurely ones. He knows what he's doing, and the proof is in the result. The suspense in Panic Room never ebbs, and that makes for a thoroughly entertaining -- if somewhat exhausting -- 108 minutes.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The kind of expression of emotion that touches a deeper chord.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Possesses the rare ability to make an audience laugh (and laugh hard) and cry, without ever seeming manipulative or going hopelessly over-the-top.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The computer-generated effects are a marvel. It's something of a bonus that the characters, dialogue, and story provide entertainment value of their own.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Overall, while Spirited Away may not be as complex and imaginative as "Princess Mononoke" in some areas, it is as beautifully rendered and no less sophisticated in its outlook. Miyazaki has provided another triumph, and, in the midst of the quality fall-off of Disney’s in-house animated projects, a reason for animation-lovers to rejoice.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Usual Suspects is an accomplished synthesis of noir elements and, as such, is an entertaining entry to the genre.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Ronin manages to remain focused on the plot and the characters, even while staging increasingly complicated pyrotechnic set pieces and offering its share of white-knuckle moments.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Typically, movies aimed at teenage audiences have little concern for things like intelligent scripts, credible characters, and meaningful dialogue. Better Luck Tomorrow contains all three, making it a hugely rewarding experience.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Kinetic, atmospheric, visually stunning, and mind-bending.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    At an economical 94 minutes, Rabbit-Proof Fence trims all the fat and tells its heartfelt and stirring story. This is one of 2002's most memorable imports.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's a superior thriller made with the guts and gusto that too many recycled entries into the genre fail to exhibit.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Hulk represents the most involving superhero motion picture since "Superman" soared skywards in 1978. By taking its time to develop characters and situations, Hulk does what so many action/adventure movies fail to do -- allow us to really feel for the protagonists.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Not only is Pleasantville a satire, a fantasy, and a visual marvel, but it's the best kind of feel-good movie.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Whatever else it may be, Irreversible is disturbingly unforgettable. It is impossible to have a blasé reaction to a film this visceral. Indifference is not an option.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Begins almost as a nostalgic excursion, but quickly detours into a powerful and telling story that examines forbidden love, racial tension, and other issues that are as valid today as they were in the 1950s.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    As always, the voice casting is perfect. Throw in a moral, and some nice touches of technical accuracy (that fish keepers will appreciate), and the movie represents the best family film to-date of 2003.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The dialogue -- especially that between Roy and Frank -- crackles with wit and intelligence (a rarity in films these days).
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a powerful tale of crime, guilt, and punishment -- a drama that incorporates elements of whodunit mystery/thrillers and police procedurals with a richly textured three-character play.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Takes the traditional romantic comedy and tweaks it by way of "The War of the Roses." Rarely has strife between the sexes been so ruthless, so civilized, and so funny.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The most important features of this "new" version are the digital cleaning of the print and the re-mastering of the sound. There are a few added scenes, but they are mostly insignificant and have been previously seen (at least by fans of the movie) on the laserdisc or DVD releases.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Although the specter of death hovers over the entire film, it is neither a grim nor a depressing experience. Arcand has injected a great deal of wit into the movie, and it meshes perfectly with the anticipated pathos.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A rousing tale that combines high adventure with emotional effectiveness. This movie works because it never loses sight of the characters no matter how epic the scope becomes.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    McNamara has a reputation for being intelligent and belligerent. The Fog of War validates the former characteristic, but not necessarily the latter.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a hard, challenging motion picture. It demands much from the audience, and repays that investment with powerful, engrossing drama that does not offer insulting, facile answers. House of Sand and Fog is gripping and unforgettable, one of the best movies of 2003.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A compelling, thought-provoking, and unsettling drama.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Looks at isolation and the fragility of human relationships. It's a poignant, unsettling motion picture that will baffle those who have become used to Hollywood's compact, tidy endings.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Truth, they say, is stranger than fiction… and also potentially more nail-biting and harder to believe. Touching the Void is an extreme example of this.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Visually, it's more impressive than Disney's “Toy Story.”
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Beloved is for those who want substance from a movie, and don't mind facing uncomfortable truths in the process.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A Bug's Life, like “Toy Story,” develops protagonists we can root for, and places them in the midst of a fast-moving, energetic adventure.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Although most movies favor passion and true love, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg shows that another less demanding, more subtle kind of love has its own appeal.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This movie has all the qualities necessary to be a crowd-pleaser: likable characters, charismatic performers, a strong, capably-executed premise, and lots of laughs.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's refreshing to encounter a movie with a logical, intelligent approach to the dangers of zipping through time.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A gripping, powerful motion picture -- arguably the most forceful depiction of Jesus' death ever to be committed to film. It leaves an indelible imprint on the psyche; viewers of this movie may never look at a crucifix in quite the same way.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Each conversation has at least one memorable line, and it's always delivered in such a casual manner that it blends right in.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The film is so exuberant that we don't care whether we're listening to Lou Reed's off-the-cuff comments about New York, watching Mel Gorham do a sexy dance in front of a mirror, or hearing Jim Jarmusch's ramblings on the romance of the smoking culture.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A film as rich in its visual presentation as it is in its emotional resonance.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Thematically rich, impeccably crafted, and intellectually stimulating, the only area where this movie falls a little short is in its emotional impact.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is unlike any other film I have seen... it's a great romance. It's willingness to flout conventions and eschew formulas is just one of many things to celebrate about this charmingly eccentric movie.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Easily the best non-Disney animated movie in recent memory, and it is good enough to rival such titles as “The Lion King” and “Aladdin.”
    • 56 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    I suspect that mainstream audiences will find plenty of things to take pleasure in, even though some viewers may be bewildered by what the Coens do. But for those who share my taste in comedy, this is a must-not-miss.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Using perfectly composed shots to amplify an emotionally resonant story, the film successfully argues that "artistic" films do not have to be boring.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Mulan effortlessly blends serious, comic, and cute elements into a whole that should entertain the majority of movie-goers, regardless of race, gender, or age.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In the midst of summer's cinematic thunder and lightning, this is a rare moment of tranquility.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Sayles cannily blends drama, romance, mystery, and social observation into a satisfying, if slightly overlong, whole. In the hands of a lesser film maker, this material could easily have degenerated into routine melodrama, but Sayles keeps it on a consistently high level.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Overall, it's a story of triumph and adventure - of oppression ended and freedom begun.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a movie to restore the faith of those who had given up on science fiction after "The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions." By adeptly combining action and ideas, it proves that Hollywood can still produce astonishing entertainment.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Mrs. Brown will delight and touch any viewer who seeks it out.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a rare, "feel good" motion picture that doesn't insult our intelligence while making its play for our emotions.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    By entering such fertile, intellectually stimulating and psychologically rich territory, Estes provides us with a freshman feature that is far beyond the generic coming-of-age tale Mean Creek initially seems to be.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    One of the best thrillers I have seen this year: tight, taut, and unpredictable.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    That Sayles is able to say these things in the context of a compelling story with well-defined characters makes this one of the early fall triumphs of 2004.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Represents solid family entertainment, and will find a special place in the hearts of those who adore the "Godfather" movies and the TV series "The Sopranos."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The average thriller, even if it's set in a faraway or futuristic world, tends to offer visceral, ephemeral excitement, and not much else. However, while Gattaca has the energy and tautness to compare with the best of those, its thought-provoking script and thematic richness elevate it to the next level.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    For those who have the patience to become absorbed in this kind of drama, Vera Drake offers a stunningly real character portrait whose image will linger long after the movie has faded.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Not as corrosive as Russell's debut feature, "Spanking the Monkey," it's just as wild, just as strange, and even funnier.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Fatoumata Coulibaly's peformance is striking. She plays her character with a mixture of determination and compassion.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's likely that 2004 won't offer a better movie about a mid-life crisis.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is one of Levinson's best films, and the screenplay, co-penned by noted writer David Mamet (along with Hilary Henkin), is brilliantly on-target.