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 The Neon Demon
Score distribution:
3072 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Riveting from beginning to end, featuring stellar performances, amazing cinematography, and a story without a trace of fat, the film does everything an epic is supposed to do - and more.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Not only is it wonderfully entertaining, but the issues it addresses, and the way it presents them, are both universal and deeply personal. And therein lies The Wizard of Oz's true magic.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Throughout the history of film, there has been a select group of standout pictures -- movies that, for technical or artistic reasons, have made an indelible imprint on viewers. Taken as one ten-hour exploration of the human experience, Decalogue is deserving of a place in that unique cadre of films.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    The picture is a series of mini-climaxes, all building to the devastating, definitive conclusion... It was carefully and painstakingly crafted. Every major character - and more than a few minor ones - is molded into a distinct, complex individual.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    When it's over, the sense is one of deep satisfaction - of having gotten to know a family in a way few motion pictures allow.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Storaro and Bertolucci have fashioned a visual masterpiece in The Conformist, with some of the best use of light and shadow ever in a motion picture. This isn't just photography, it's art -- powerful, beautiful, and effective. (Review of 1994 Release)
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Red, the final chapter of Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy, is a subtle masterpiece. With its satisfying exploration of such complex and diverse themes as destiny and platonic love, Red is not only a self-contained motion picture, but a fitting conclusion to the series.
    • 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.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The lack of family friendliness does not diminish what del Toro has achieved with this magical motion picture.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The rich texture of Hoop Dreams' drama is its greatest asset.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    A masterpiece... The genius of Dr. Strangelove is that it's possible to laugh -- and laugh hard -- while still recognizing the intelligence and insight behind the humor.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    For parents looking to spend time in a theater with their kids or adults who want something lighter and less testosterone-oriented than the usual summer fare, Ratatouille offers a savory main course.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Gravity isn't just a movie; it's almost transformative, and the visceral element is enhanced by the 3-D.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Beauty and the Beast attains a nearly-perfect mix of romance, music, invention, and animation.
    • 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.
    • 95 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.
    • 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.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A compelling contemporary thriller with the added benefit of also being an engrossing character study.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It is a mystery and a courtroom drama. Above all, however, it is a tale of love and sacrifice.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    It's a rare and powerful thing to confront something honest and real on the big screen. It stays with you in a way that nothing else can. Before Midnight is fiction but it might as well be a documentary.
    • 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    With this film, every layer that you peel away leads to something deeper and richer. Tarantino makes pictures for movie-lovers, and Pulp Fiction is a near-masterpiece.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The film is intricately composed using the shadows created by natural lighting and some of the most astonishing sunsets and landscapes ever captured on screen. Pope's work is immersive and allows viewers to become engaged in a story that occasionally moves a little too slowly.
    • 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Put simply, WALL-E is about as charming as movies get.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's likely that 2004 won't offer a better movie about a mid-life crisis.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Labeling this as a "movie" is almost an injustice. This is an experience of epic scope and grandeur, amazing emotional power, and relentless momentum.
    • 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Maborosi is a worthwhile movie experience not because it ventures into virgin territory, but because its presentation is so precise and unique.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Because this film touches us so deeply, the catharsis has a power that few -- if any -- other moments in film history can match. And that's what establishes this as a transcendent motion picture experience.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    One of Scorsese's most influential and disturbing films on the big screen. (Review twenty years after release).
    • 93 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The film has too much surface beauty not to earn it a recommendation, but Days of Heaven satisfies only on a sensory level.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Crumb is a rare and powerful documentary that completely absorbs the viewer and leaves an impression so blindingly clear that the afterimage cannot be blinked away even when the theater is far behind.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is adult drama with an impeccable sense of period and a strong focus on character. With today's cinema sadly lacking in movies like this, it makes Inside Llewyn Davis all the more welcome, especially for those who care about the kind of music it honors.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Takes a cold, unflinching look at the violence both inside and outside of the ring.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Like all great craftsmen, Lucas has managed to fashion this material in a manner that not only honors the original sources, but makes it uniquely his own. Hacks rip off other movies; artists synthesize and pay homage to their inspirations.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Unfortunately, the film's final third is poorly focused and, while there is a clear conclusion, it feels strangely hollow.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind is unquestionably a great movie.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Fatoumata Coulibaly's peformance is striking. She plays her character with a mixture of determination and compassion.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A highly satirical work, albeit without the "in your face" style of "South Park."
    • 91 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Spielberg has always shown a penchant for overt manipulation, but nowhere is this more obvious than in E.T., where he pulls out all the stops in an effort to bleed tears from the eyes of every audience member. It doesn't take a cynical nature to recognize what the director is doing. [2002 re-release]
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Represents the director at his best -- unsentimental yet powerful, funny and poignant, and, in the end, undeniably satisfying.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Patton remains to this day one of Hollywood's most compelling biographical war pictures.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    For those who are willing to brave the movie's shocking and unforgettable images, Saving Private Ryan offers a singular motion picture experience.
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Lately, it seems that film noir has become the province of independent productions. As a result, it's refreshing to see a big-budget, studio effort of this sort that does nearly everything right.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The result is a grim, startling motion picture.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Her
    It's audacious but also genuine. It's emotionally true and demands much from its audience not in terms of suspension of disbelief but of empathy with the main character.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    This is truly a great film -- easily one of 1997's best.
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In the midst of summer's cinematic thunder and lightning, this is a rare moment of tranquility.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Isn't just fine family entertainment, it's superior family entertainment.
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    United 93 is powerful not only in the way it provides hope through the actions of a few unlikely heroes, but in its ability to take us back through time to a day many of us would prefer not to remember, but will never forget.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Talk about taking things to a new level… Theaters showing Fury Road should have seat belts installed.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The film is as powerful as any narrative motion picture in telling a story that rips at the emotions.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    An appealing, offbeat, one-hundred minute diversion for those who really are tired of monsters tearing down buildings and action heroes saving the world.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    American Hustle runs a little long with the strongest scenes occurring toward the end. Although the actors don't put on a clinic, they all provide worthwhile performances playing interesting characters, and there's a nice cameo thrown into the mix.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Simply put, Sofia Copolla's Lost in Translation is an amazing motion picture.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    If you think "Hero" is a sumptuous film, prepare to be blown away by House of Flying Daggers.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A fascinating time capsule: a combination of talking-head interviews, actual footage, and re-creations that evokes a kinder, gentler world and provides insight into one of the most audacious stunts of the 20th century.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The variation keeps things fresh and the relatively short running length (less than 90 minutes) ensures that Borat doesn't overstay its welcome - even though when it's all done, we wish this absurd man might have lingered a little longer.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Taken as a whole, this is compulsive viewing and offers plenty of material for post-viewing discussions.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Ultimately, Goodbye Solo works because the screenplay, actors, and director combine to craft honest, compelling individuals.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    What Selma does so well is to bring to life the events of 1965, especially "Bloody Sunday" (the first march). It's one thing to read about these moments in a history book but another altogether to see them on the screen. The movie is riveting.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    With patience, care, and strict attention to detail, Scorsese has staked out an impregnable position in the history of motion pictures.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A solid motion picture with a universal message and occasional splashes of genius, but it is remarkable only as Holly Hunter's performance is concerned.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    The Western may be one of the few truly American art forms, and High Noon shows exactly how much potential it can embrace.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Letters from Iwo Jima is a unique American-made war movie for at least two reasons: it depicts the battle from the perspective of the losers and it represents the United States as the "enemy."
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This isn't a perfect motion picture but, in the midst of summer's vapid pursuit of spectacle, a movie that provides real heart and emotion is a rare find.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    It's often diverting and occasionally funny, but it's ultimately inconsequential.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The brilliance of Bennett's movie is that it concentrates on the characters and their interaction and never becomes a mouthpiece for one side or the other with respect to the death penalty.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's a noteworthy achievement for director Damien Chazelle to infuse a tale about the development of a musician with all the tension and intensity of a top-notch thriller. Whiplash is riveting.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's not as endearing as "Moonrise Kingdom" but not as tedious as "The Darjeeling Limited." It offers an engaging 90+ minutes of unconventional, comedy-tinged adventure that references numerous classic movies while developing a style and narrative approach all its own.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Watching Blue is the Warmest Color provides viewers with that rarest of motion picture opportunities: the ability to lose oneself in the life of another for three hours and to emerge having felt something.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    For those with the patience to sit through this kind of unhurried motion picture, Time Out offers a compelling character study of an individual under the kind of strain we can all relate to.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A tender movie about a poignant and difficult subject.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's a dark, dark comedy that ruthlessly skewers the news industry on a stake, then roasts it alive.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Like its predecessor, The Two Towers is a great motion picture, and not to be missed by anyone who appreciates fantasy adventure.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Despite its flaws, White is an excellent character study, and the presentation of a twisted love story is compelling.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    From a purely narrative perspective, there’s nothing new here but like a new arrangement of a familiar tune, the slight changes make it fresh and enjoyable.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Up
    Up is not as transcendent as last year's "WALL-E," and doesn't rank near the top of Pixar's pantheon of great features, but it's a solid (and in some ways innovative) fantasy adventure that mixes comedy, action, and drama into a satisfying whole.

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