James Berardinelli

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For 3,072 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 4.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Berardinelli's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Avatar
Lowest review score: 0 Captivity
Score distribution:
3072 movie reviews
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Moana is an entertaining and worthy way to close Disney’s 2016 animated roster.
    • 23 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It is possible, however improbable, that a "bad" movie can still be highly enjoyable. Formula 51 is such a film.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    As animated films go, this is easily the best of a weak year.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The film takes a little time to explore the political landscape of the time, and features an Oscar-worthy lead performance.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Overall, if the film is not as funny as its predecessors, that's probably part and parcel of why it doesn't seem as enchanting. Emotionally, despite the character arc, Cars doesn't resonate in the same way "The Incredibles" or "Toy Story" did.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is one of those rare horror movies that concentrates on suspense and terror rather than on gore and a high body count.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The result is a grim, startling motion picture.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The film has been crafted with a consideration that the best family movies appeal not only to a young target audience but to the parents who accompany their offspring to theaters.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Darkly effective, and its grip lasts longer than we might be entirely comfortable with.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Bright, colorful, and exhilarating.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The result is an effective portrait of a damaged individual uncertain about the meaning of love and commitment and the two key relationships in his life that teach him lessons about both.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The movie succeeds because screenwriter Howard Himelstein keeps Wilde's best lines intact and the actors speak the words with practiced confidence.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    [The film] occasionally had me convulsed with laughter.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Cloverfield's gritty, in-your-face style is uncompromising. If you're looking for a nice, clean movie filmed with a steadycam, you'll have to look elsewhere.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a film of powerful ideas, impressive set design, and compelling performances.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A tender movie about a poignant and difficult subject.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Not a daring film, but it is immensely likable. Every once in a while, a movie comes along that, despite traversing familiar terrain, is made with enough all-around skill that it overcomes its clichéd origins. About a Boy is such a movie.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's a rousing adventure that keeps the audience involved for the entirety of the two hour running time while opening a window into the culture that gave birth to Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Francis Bacon, and William Shakespeare.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A feel-good movie that offers enough comedy and romance to warm the heart without risking a sentimental overdose.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The Drop's unpredictability is organic rather than sensationalistic. The movie doesn't pull surprises out of thin air for the sole purpose of shocking an audience - it lets them develop naturally.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Historical fudges aside, Hidden Figures provides an example of determination and talent triumphing over an unfair and repressive system.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It is a dark, violent, sexually explicit motion picture that will surely offend timid viewers.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    There's no question that State of Play feels a little rushed and the density of plot can be daunting, but the resulting tale unfolds with an urgency and sense of verisimilitude that will keep most viewers intrigued and involved without losing many along the way.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A fairly routine thriller that gets high marks as a result of tight pacing and top-notch acting.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    One of those pleasant movie-going experiences that doesn't offend, excite, or challenge anyone. There are all sorts of likable things about it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Green Room is a simple movie with a straightforward premise. The film works for two reasons: Stewart’s presence and Saulnier’s execution.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The three leads provide convincing performances, with Dakota Fanning being the standout.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The movie’s failings come during its final act when contrivances and an adherence to big budget conventions transform Passengers into a less compelling experience than what it starts out as.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The movie eventually achieves a level of powerful drama…but only after dithering for more than an hour.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The film is fascinating and at times disturbing, but Winterbottom's arms-length style mutes any emotional impact.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The strength of the screenplay and acting provide a satisfying, although not overwhelming, two hours of romance, drama, and tragedy.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Easy A may not be a great movie, but it is a knowing and enjoyable one.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Kids for Cash may not be inherently cinematic (a lot of the footage, after all, first appeared on television) but it is compelling.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    What Brown Sugar lacks in originality, it makes up for in charm.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    he movie is funny enough to get its share of laughs but, in its angry heart, it’s a tragedy - and the saddest part is that too much of this story is true.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    I suspect City of Angels is going to remind many viewers of “Ghost,” but there's a big difference: this film is more true and less manipulative.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Valkyrie, despite being a more straightforward thriller, is less gripping than "Downfall," the most recent film in which Hitler had significant screen time.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The ending is weak, and may be the result of the filmmakers writing themselves into a corner and not wanting to conclude things in a burst of nihilistic excess. Yet, even though it's a cheat, it retains a degree of resonance.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Iron Man 3 has the stuff to please the devotees and divert everyone else, which is pretty much what's expected from the curtain-raiser of any summer season.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    At long last, someone has crafted a worthwhile superhero spoof.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    At times darkly funny and at other times depressingly tragic. It's safe to say there aren't any movies out there quite like this one.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    While Monster House is in no way groundbreaking, it's an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes, and is suitable for all but the youngest children.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A shamelessly uplifting motion picture that attains its feel-good status by forging a deep emotional connection between the undertrodden protagonist and the audience.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Not great fantasy, but it's on more solid ground than "The Golden Compass" and will seem less baffling to some. There's enough here to keep adults engaged, which is an important component of any motion picture that wants to be known as "family entertainment."
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Coriolanus deserves to be seen, however, especially among those who enjoy Shakespeare without considering themselves purists. It's violent, bloody, fast-paced, and powerfully acted. And, if the language represents a barrier of sorts, it's worth remembering that some of the greatest phrases in history derive from Shakespeare's texts.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Career Girls is a wonderful diversion -- expert film making that's all the more effective because it seems so natural and effortless. The movie lacks the grit of Naked and the emotional impact of Secrets and Lies, but, because it effectively transforms two strangers into people worth caring about, Career Girls can be regarded as nothing less than a success.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A charming, family friendly endeavor and, although it falls short of the best Pixar has brought to the screen over its long association with Disney, it's nevertheless worth a trip to the theater, especially for kids.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The result is an entertaining and sporadically engrossing two hours.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The Simpsons is interested in being a family film, although this is one of those rare animated occasions when adults are the primary audience. I, for one, couldn't be happier.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    By turns sad, frightening, and inspirational, the movie is impeded only by the difficulty of bridging the 25-year span between segments and accepting the older lead (Dev Patel) as a replacement for his younger self (Sunny Pawar).
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's almost unfair to make the comparison because there are so many fundamental differences, but the closest recent movie to Romance and Cigarettes is "Moulin Rouge." The key likeness is easy to spot: the characters spontaneously break into familiar pop songs.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Sweet and light. It's a celebration of cultural diversity and an affirmation that, despite differences in race, religion, and societal norms, people are essentially the same.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Anything Else may not be the second coming of "Annie Hall," but it has more wit and substance than almost every post-college romance that sees the inside of a projection booth.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Miracle is inspirational and uplifting -- qualities we are as much in need of today as we were during the winter of 1980.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a great two-hour motion picture. Unfortunately, it runs 20 minutes longer than that.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    As a means to bring a classic novel to the attention of a modern audience, McGrath's Nicholas Nickleby is a success.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    What Dreams May Come has the sensibilities of an art film placed into a big-budget feature with an A-list cast.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    With its appealing blend of animated comedy, romance, and adventure, Shrek 2 follows the formula of its predecessor while maintaining enough originality not to come across as a direct copy.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    An incomplete memoir with spotty character development, but, in part because of the way it was filmed and in part because of the strength of the cast, it's still an effective entertainment.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The Devil's Advocate is a highly-enjoyable motion picture that's part character study, part supernatural thriller, and part morality play.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Philip Seymour Hoffman is in fine form as a man teetering on the edge.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It offers genuine scares and chills without the self-aware, packaged feel of many horror/thriller films.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's better than most dramas showing in multiplexes.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Ransom isn't a bad thriller, it's just not a great one. There's a little too much pointless running around, a subplot that leads nowhere, and a certain creeping predictability that argues for a shorter running length.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    While the sluggish beginning and ending mar this Star Trek outing somewhat, there's still enough here to please fans of the series, and, to a lesser extent, movie-goers in general.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Winter's Bone is a welcome reminder that thrillers don't have to be loud and boisterous to grab the attention and keep it captive.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    May be the best family movie of the 2002 summer film-going season. There's a simple reason for this - the picture seems to have been put together with the recognition that some members of the audience may be above the age of ten.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Sex Drive's first 30 minutes may lead one to suspect there's nothing new to be seen here, but it undergoes a transformation once the preliminaries have been dispensed with. John Hughes would be pleased - and so also might Judd Apatow.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The chief pleasure to be derived from watching Cold Souls is that it's a journey into the unexpected.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It is involving and entertaining, and features an intriguing, independent heroine.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The two actors, Daniel Day-Lewis and Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves), give such forceful performances and interact so well that it's impossible not to be mesmerized by their interaction.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Romanticizes gangland Chicago, but no more so than other films set in the same period. And, like almost every movie about the mob, this one deals with themes of family, loyalty, and betrayal -- albeit without the intensity of some of the great ones ("The Godfather," "Goodfellas").
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Fantastic Beasts is an enjoyable stand-alone but its position as the progenitor of a new franchise remains unclear.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a film to be enjoyed on a psychological level for its keen understanding of the contradictory impulses that drive sexual and social intercourse.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    One of the singular pleasures of films like The Invisible Woman is the window they offer into the lives of deceased authors who are known primarily to modern audiences only through the words they committed to paper.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    As a bio-pic, De-Lovely is pretty standard, run-of-the-mill stuff (albeit with an interesting framing device). However, as a "best hits" collection of Cole Porter's music, it is unparalleled.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Eastwood has crafted something that works both as a sports drama and as an examination of the birth pains of the racially unified South Africa.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's a deliciously amusing and sometimes surprisingly poignant look at the difficulties of being a 15-year old outsider whose chief goals in life are getting laid and making sure his parents don't split up.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    What starts out as a talky, modern-day re-interpretation of "Pygmalion" (Henry Higgins is explicitly mentioned) turns into something heart-wrenchingly bleak.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Isn't quite good enough to elicit a purr, but it represents better-than-average movie-making that doesn't demand a dumb, distracted audience.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a solid family film material, although one suspects the children will get a little more out of it than their parents.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's certainly a successful adaptation, features numerous memorable performances (mostly by the supporting players), and is worth a post-holiday expenditure of time and money.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A lot takes place during The Painted Veil's two-hour running length, but most of what happens occurs within the hearts and minds of the leads.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The film’s climax is tautly executed; the way everything plays out is a whirl of brutal, violent beauty.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Diplomacy will work for those who appreciate dialogue-based character films in which plot is of secondary importance. This is a showcase for acting.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    At its heart, Harrison's Flowers is a love story, albeit a graphic and difficult one.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    With fresh dialogue and a willingness to show his protagonists in a less-than-favorable light, Demme has found a way to make this entry memorable.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Rocky Balboa is not as good as "Rocky," but it allows us to forget the other four sequels, none of which was memorable.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Cairo Time is a valentine to Egypt.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Solid performances, an intelligent script, and sure-handed direction. The result is a movie that kept me involved from start to finish.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Ultimately, Goodbye Solo works because the screenplay, actors, and director combine to craft honest, compelling individuals.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The Night Listener is by no means an example of perfect filmmaking, but it is the kind of movie that stays with you.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Amateur is a curious mixture of high art and delicious campiness, and the result is a funny, insightful, and almost-hypnotic motion picture.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    For the most part, Big Eyes works because of its restraint - something rarely claimed about one of Burton's cinematic offspring.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's a slight-but-enjoyable effort, and it features something a little on the surprising side: an optimistic ending.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    My sense is that adults will be more taken with Ponyo than their offspring.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Well paced and energetic; it's unlikely to bore anyone.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    If you want daring or original, Fools Rush In isn't the movie to see. Like 90% of all romantic comedies, it follows a time-honored formula that allows little room for variation.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Rather than perpetuating racial stereotypes, Eve's Bayou defies them, creating several well-rounded characters and placing them in a deceptively complex story that builds to a forceful conclusion.

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