James Berardinelli

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For 3,261 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 3.5 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Berardinelli's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Contact
Lowest review score: 0 Captivity
Score distribution:
3261 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle is a top-notch movie. Everything is in place -- a striking lead performance, solid supporting players, a well-written script, and, above all, expert direction to merge the ingredients.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The cast is remarkable. Five of the seven principal cast members own previous Oscar nominations.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A solid starting point for those unfamiliar with Apted's greatest work, and a must-see for those who have been down this road before.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    As with most slow-burn neo-noir movies, Sweet Virginia thrives on atmosphere. It oozes it from every frame.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Captain Phillips works precisely because Hanks isn't a muscle-bound, gun-toting figure (nor does he turn into one during the course of the movie). Placed in an untenable position, he uses guile and intelligence instead of brawn and weapons to enhance his survival chances.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    More substantive than the average thriller/road movie.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It delivers on everything it promises, from the modern day reverse-Cinderella fable to a fabric of low-key humor. [Review of re-release]
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The sophomore feature effort from director Destin Cretton (remaking and expanding upon his 2008 short), this movie avoids the numerous landmines awaiting someone venturing into this territory and, as a result, emerges triumphant.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The movie is funny, energetic, and enjoyable -- the perfect film for a night or an afternoon out, regardless of what mood you're in. While the plot and characters don't boast any special depth, there's enough freshness to hold just about anyone's interest.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a beautifully-shot film, and director Robert Redford (who also provides the voice-over narration) has paid painstaking attention to detail.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Those in search of escapism should not look to this motion picture, but anyone willing to assume the risk of facing the ugliness of Johnny's world will find a startling, gut-wrenching, eye-opening experience.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Lambert’s three-dimensionality elevates Wind River above the norms of the traditional crime movie so that, in addition to delivering the expected tropes, it provides a richer, more fulfilling experience.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In addition to their deft skill with light drama, the directors understand well-placed humor, and throw just the right amount of comedy into the mix to make Big Night fun without turning it into an outright farce.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Taken on its own, Saving Mr. Banks is a pleasant, crowd-pleasing endeavor. For those with a soft spot for Mary Poppins, however, it's a treasure.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    De Niro successfully varies the tone, keeping it light and playful at times, dark and somber at others. A Bronx Tale is his triumph, and a testimony that all those years of watching the best in the business have borne fruit. If what is yet to come has any of the promise shown by this debut, we may be witnessing the birth of yet another directing talent.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Superman II delivers on the promise hinted at in "Superman." Which is the better film? That's a hard choice to make, since both succeed in different ways.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a feel-good tale through-and-through yet, because of the aesthetic and setting, it doesn’t feel cloying and artificial. And, perhaps most importantly, it earns the modest ending.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    As rich in emotional impact as in style, this motion picture sets a high standard that we as viewers can only hope the other two chapters of the trilogy will match.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The most visually inventive comic book adaptation to make its way to a movie screen.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    From a pure entertainment perspective, it is arguably the most enjoyable motion picture of the season. Sky High is funny, smart, energetic, subversive, and has a few substantive things to say.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Only now can we truly step back and admire the full tapestry that it has taken George Lucas and his ILM wizards nearly three decades to weave.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    When I say that Parker is a master manipulator, that’s meant as a compliment of the highest order. He gets us into this story and puts us unequivocally behind Nat.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The best thing I can say about Apocalypto is that, despite belonging to an overpopulated genre, it's unlike any other movie to reach theaters this year and, because it is as visual an experience as it is visceral, it is best seen on a large screen.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The screen translation of Catching Fire, the second volume of the series, offers its audience many of the elements that made The Hunger Games compelling, but adds to that by deepening the themes and emotional currents and traveling to darker destinations.
    • 96 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 highest compliment I can offer Ulee's Gold is that it plays more like real life than a movie.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Gives life and meaning to an event that is little more than a footnote in history books (if that).
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    From Russia with Love is among the most tightly-plotted of all the Bond films, and, as a result, is one of the shortest. It moves briskly, blending intrigue, romance, and action into an immensely satisfying whole.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The story is timely and powerful, and the performances of Hanks and Washington assure that the characters will not immediately vanish into obscurity.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Cusack invests such sincerity in his portrayal of Lloyd that it's impossible not to root for him to get the girl. He's the classic underdog that we all think of ourselves as -- earnest, engaging, and impossible to resist because of his flaws, rather than in spite of them.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Oleanna probes deeply into some of the darker facets of human interaction, and anything with this keen an edge will cause discomfort. Three out of four "characteristic" movie-goers are likely to view this as a bad movie (too slow, too pedantic, too stilted). Oleanna, however, is no more intended for that crowd than are they for it. This film has been made for those willing to look beneath the surface to see a taut, intellectual sparring match where there is no absolute truth. For such an audience, this picture will leave an indelible imprint.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The best animated feature (at least thus far) of 2016.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The pressure on filmmakers to equal or exceed the impact of a beloved original is intense. In a case like this, when the reputation of a movie has built over decades, expectations are elevated to an almost impossible level. With Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve has met those expectations by crafting a film that rivets the attention, excites the imagination, and engages the mind.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    One of the most refreshing things about this movie is the manner in which it combines genres in unexpected ways.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Conjuring 2 proves that, with a sufficient investment of time and energy, sequels don’t have to be unsatisfying cash-grabs.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    I won't argue that Inside Out is as profound or all-around engaging as "Toy Story 3," but the films succeed in many of the same ways.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is science fiction for sophisticated audiences and, as such, a fulfilling and satisfying experience.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Georgia is a tour de force for Leigh, and her portrayal of the troubled, passionate Sadie lingers in the mind long after many of the movie's plot details have faded.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Dreamgirls is good and at times it touches greatness.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Ricci's performance is brave and effective - the most provocative in a career that has rejected Hollywood norms.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This film is the complete package, and offers a thoroughly satisfying two-plus hours in a darkened theater.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Emotionally challenging and honest.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Taken as a whole, this is compulsive viewing and offers plenty of material for post-viewing discussions.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The real wreckage in Locke is to the main character's old life, and the manner in which it is depicted makes this one of the year's most intriguing motion pictures.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The characters are at the heart of A Simple Plan, and the gruesome complexity of their interaction elevates this film to the level of a midwinter treat.
    • 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
    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,
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    T2 features bigger, bolder, more energetic action sequences than its predecessor.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    An engaging and powerful motion picture, every bit the equal of Merchant Ivory's best work, and certainly the most emotionally-wrenching tale they have brought to the screen.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    If not for a somewhat forced catharsis during the epilogue (the weakest segment of the movie), Breaking the Waves would have been more wrenching than it is.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The sex is REALLY hot. Not hardcore pornographic (at least by my definition of the term) but close.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Despite being broadly classified as a “monster movie” and featuring sequences that are as wildly bizarre as any Monty Python skit, Okja has serious messages about consumerism, ecology, and food production.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle aren’t interested in offering another re-enactment of the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story. They have something more ambitious in mind. Their goal is to illustrate the tyranny of genius and how a “great mind” doesn’t always mean a “great person.”
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It is Lee's job as a film maker to imbue these images with life, and that's a task he easily accomplishes.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    These are two fascinating characters, and watching them thrust and parry proves to be as impossible to turn away from as observing a grotesque roadside accident.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a slice of life with an imperfect beginning and conclusion, but what transpires between those two endpoints is strong enough to leave an impression on anyone with the patience to commit to a movie of such unhurried temperament.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Isn't just an expose of the porn industry -- it's a provocative and involving character study, as well.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A wonderful motion picture, even given the weaknesses of the source material.
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    American Splendor is deserving of accolades, not only because it tells an interesting story about a fascinating man, but because it does so with such freedom and freshness. I wish more of the comic book-inspired movies were like this.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Two and one- half hours of gripping entertainment.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The lack of family friendliness does not diminish what del Toro has achieved with this magical motion picture.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Big
    Although Big is generally lighthearted, it rarely plays for stupid laughs. There are a few of these, but the film avoids sacrificing character integrity for the cheap guffaw.
    • 75 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's refreshing to encounter a movie with a logical, intelligent approach to the dangers of zipping through time.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Wrath of Khan is a top-notch, fast-paced adventure that can be enjoyed equally by fans of the series and those who have never seen an episode.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    And, while there's nothing revolutionary or extraordinary about the dramatic narrative, the subtext gives Winterbottom's movie its force.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is a film of tremendous scope and emotional depth that uncovers the soul of a novel and brings it to life on the screen.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Atonement is effective at getting under the skin, and some audience members won't like that.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    More than any other comic book character outside of Nolan’s Batman, Wolverine has evolved. With his glimpse into what superhero movies can be, James Mangold has given us something sadly lacking in recent genre entries: hope.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    By offering opportunities to laugh, cry, and cheer, Little Voice satisfies in a big way.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The latest offering from Edward Zwick, the director of "Glory," is the kind of movie that doesn't require much effort to surrender to and enjoy.

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