James Berardinelli

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For 3,144 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 3.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Berardinelli's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 The Hateful Eight
Lowest review score: 0 The Neon Demon
Score distribution:
3144 movie reviews
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Black Book possesses a taut, exciting script that throws surprises at the viewer on a regular basis.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Rude, raunchy, uproarious, yet with elements that are surprisingly sweet.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's not as crisply directed, and the plot holes are easier to find, but Die Hard 2 is filled with the same sense of good-natured, wisecracking fun that infused the original.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    On the Waterfront may have baggage, but that doesn't prevent it from being one of the great American productions of the mid-20th century.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Edge of Heaven is marked by a number of remarkable performances.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Writer/director Mangold never compromises the integrity of his painfully-intense script. There isn't one crowd-pleasing moment in the entire movie, except perhaps the last scene, which offers a flicker of hope.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The film's look is impressive; it's the most successful rotoscoping effort to date (far surpassing Richard Linklater's duo of "Waking Life" and "A Scanner Darkly"), and causes every frame to drip atmosphere.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Room is honest and challenging but it’s more uplifting than one might expect from a film with such a horrific backstory.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In a year when no fewer than five films have dealt with themes of man vs. nature and survival (including The Martian, Everest, In the Heart of the Sea, and A Walk in the Woods), The Revenant is by far the most brutal, challenging, and astounding of these.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's a genuine pleasure to find a movie with such a deep and intelligent portrayal of simple human lives, with all their minor triumphs and tragedies.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The rarest of movies - a literary multi-character drama. From the erudition of the voiceover narrative to the three dimensionality of the characters, Field's film is the closest it's possible to get to a book without reading one.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The rich texture of Hoop Dreams' drama is its greatest asset.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Yes, Fences suffers somewhat from the bare-bones transferal of the “action” from stage to screen but the material is so compelling that viewers can easily lose sight of the movie’s “play nature.”
    • 96 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    12 Years a Slave is by no means light entertainment but it provides a more worthwhile cinematic experience than about 90% of what's out there and the impressions it leaves aren't easily dismissed or dispelled.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This may sound depressing and, in a sense it is, but these things are part of life and Haneke conveys them with a simplicity that is heartbreaking.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Stranger than Fiction is a wonderful cinematic experience - a welcome way to spend a chilly autumn evening.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The material is intellectual, but the treatment is not. Proof is a stirring motion picture that challenges our views on a great many things about life, some of which we take for granted. And, by opening up the play, Madden has made it less talky and more cinematic without losing the quintessential elements that made it such a success on stage.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It offers a feel-good experience, but without the heavy dose of schmaltz that often accompanies such a production.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    From the first scene, however, it's obvious that the writing/directing team of Andy and Larry Wachowski are aiming for something considerably higher than rudimentary titillation. And, by taking chances and twisting conventions, they have hit paydirt.
    • 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
    The movie not only represents the best effort from Eastwood since his Oscar-winning "Million Dollar Baby" but the finest acting we have seen thus far from two-time nominee Bradley Cooper.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's likely that 2004 won't offer a better movie about a mid-life crisis.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The kind of expression of emotion that touches a deeper chord.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Magic on celluloid -- fresh, funny, romantic, and upbeat. You'll leave the theater with a smile on your face and perhaps a tear in your eye.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A firecracker of a story - sharply written, superbly acted, and fast-paced.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Although not without moments of sadness and tragedy, Brooklyn is sublimely uplifting and life affirming.
    • 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."
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Together, Crystal and Ryan really click. Even though their characters are polar opposites (or perhaps because of it), their interaction has a charm and warmth that most motion picture pairings lack.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    For those who have gotten their Harry Potter fix entirely through the cinematic incarnation, the script is lucid and fast-moving.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    With solid performances and a terrific screenplay, this movie offers solid, no-frills drama that feels organic and believable, not contrived.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is easily the best family feature of the early year.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Witness states its position about clashing cultures with eloquence.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a deeply cynical movie and, in that cynicism, it finds truth.
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Putting aside all the controversy, however, viewers are left with an expertly-directed and well-acted historical epic that disappoints only in its shallow perspective of the Irish/British and Irish/Irish conflicts.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Les Miserables understandably cuts some of the stage production's numbers, but all of the major anthems are intact and wonderfully presented.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Despite being a low-key production, La Promesse speaks volumes about how we treat other human beings and what it means to truly grow up.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The dialogue -- especially that between Roy and Frank -- crackles with wit and intelligence (a rarity in films these days).
    • 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.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Nothing, no matter how outrageous, is beyond Smith, and his willingness to flaunt cinematic taboos is one of the reasons why Clerks is such a unqualified success.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Especially during the first 90 minutes, Carol is an immersive experience that invites the viewer to slow down and amble along at its leisurely pace.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Horror isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s not a child’s genre. It isn’t meant to be comfortable. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to think of a recent movie that’s as uncomfortable and disturbing as It Comes at Night.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Wong infuses his films with style and energy. His hand-held camera is restless, always moving and shifting. The action sequences are punctuated with unusual shots and stop-motion jumps. By filming Chungking Express in such rich, vibrant manner, the director uses visual images to underscore his themes.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    One of the best things about True Lies is that it's genuinely funny.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This installment inches events closer to a merge point with 1968's "Planet of the Apes" while maintaining its own unique identity. It is in every way superior to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Spotlight is a Valentine to investigative journalism and a stark reminder of where we’re headed now that this brand of writing has become an endangered species. The film is unique in that it focuses almost entirely on the process.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The film’s contribution is the unique perspective it provides about what it meant to work in a death camp.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A film as rich in its visual presentation as it is in its emotional resonance.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Actually three movies in one: a wildlife film about how grizzly bears behave in their natural habitat, a character study of an eccentric environmentalist, and a chilling, voyeuristic narrative of how death stalks that man.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Wright is savvy enough to realize that suspense and tension require characters that are more than human figures in a CGI playground. He does just enough with the men and women populating Baby Driver for us to get a sense of who they are.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In the midst of summer's cinematic thunder and lightning, this is a rare moment of tranquility.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Those who go to a Villeneuve production, Sicario included, must be prepared for intense suspense, moral ambiguity, and an ending that doesn't conform to Hollywood norms.
    • 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.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Psycho is a brilliant excursion into fear that pushes many of our primal buttons, but it lacks the story and character complexity of Vertigo and Rear Window.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    As written by the brash, funny, and often vulgar comedienne Amy Schumer, Trainwreck is brash, funny, and often vulgar. Its raunchiness is a perfect match for the man who made "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up."
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Deliciously perverse, delightfully twisty, and unapologetically erotic.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The in-your-face style of We Were Soldiers results in a suspenseful, intense, and exhausting cinematic experience.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Several flaws, mostly minor, keep Casino on a plateau slightly below that of the director's best (Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas).
    • 96 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The stakes of those deliberations are so high, the personalities of the jurors so forceful, and the arguments so pregnant with importance that there is no instance in which boredom threatens.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Everything in Out of Sight is smart -- the dialogue, the characters, and the storyline.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Isn't just heartwarming and inspiring, it's a remarkable look at a group of children whose most noteworthy trait is that they are ordinary.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    La La Land isn’t just the best made-for-the-screen musical to reach theaters in a very long time, it’s arguably the best (non-animated) cinematic musical of any kind since 1986’s delightful "Little Shop of Horrors." Yes, it’s more vibrant than "Chicago," more heartfelt than "Les Miserables," and more successfully staged than a chorus of other contenders.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Imperfect as it may be, Bowling for Columbine is riveting stuff.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It’s not cinematic fast food. If you want superficial entertainment, Manchester by the Sea will disappoint. This is for those who crave a deeper experience.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Although Barry Jenkins’ film is indeed about the struggles and difficulties of a person embracing his culturally reviled sexuality, the story is universal in scope and intent.
    • 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Although Dunkirk is technically a war film, its tone and style are those of a high-octane thriller. For his most serious-minded film to date, Christopher Nolan has employed all the weapons in his arsenal to craft something that, despite the Oscar-unfriendly July release date, will almost certainly be remembered when the Best Picture nominations are handed out.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Manages the task of being both heartbreaking and heart-warming.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Kinetic, atmospheric, visually stunning, and mind-bending.
    • 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.
    • 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.

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