James Berardinelli
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For 2,757 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 5.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Berardinelli's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Manhattan
Lowest review score: 0 Knock Off
Score distribution:
2,757 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a brave movie because it addresses a subject Hollywood feels uncomfortable about.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a fascinating story of determination and survival that deserves to be told. It is ultimately uplifting but it's tough going to get to that point.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Truly a tale for our time.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Talky and intelligent, and never takes the cheap way out. It's also something of a downer.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is truly a movie that children and their parents can both enjoy for different reasons.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Woo, who is known and appreciated for his unique stylistic approach to violence and bloodshed, creates a kinetic ballet of bullets and explosions that drives the adrenaline level through the roof.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Of Austen's novels, none is more beloved than this one, so it's good to see it once again brought to the screen with the pride which it deserves.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Jeff Daniels, an actor who is often relegated to inoffensive supporting roles, surprises with the power and intensity of his performance.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    Feel-good tripe: a string of clichés lashed together by a formulaic plot that features underwritten characters and sit-com style humor.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    If Manhattan was only a romantic comedy, it would be a very good one, but the fact that the movie has so much more ambition than the "average" entry into the genre makes it an extraordinary example of the fusion of entertainment and art. This is Allen in peak form, deftly mastering and combining the diverse threads of romance, drama, and comedy - and all against a black-and-white backdrop that makes us wonder why color is such a coveted characteristic in modern motion pictures.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The acting is uniformly excellent. For the roles of Ashoke and Ashima, Nair has employed prolific Bollywood stars Tabu and Irfan Khan, both of whom give performances of great range and empathy.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    There's nothing deep or meaningful to be unearthed in this feel-good comedy, but it nevertheless makes for solid entertainment.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Like "Raging Bull", Foxcatcher is a dark drama masquerading as a sports movie.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Although Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban stands well enough on its own, it has a "middle chapter" feeling. In other words, there's no real beginning or ending. Little is resolved and the film's climax is low-key.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    There is an audience out there for slower, more intellectual thrillers. This is a motion picture for them to discover.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Passionate and magical, Forrest Gump is a tonic for the weary of spirit.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Downfall and Bruno Ganz are deserving of Oscars they will not get.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Spectacular Now's DNA contains elements of the John Hughes teen dramadies of the '80s. There's also a little Cameron Crowe - in fact, replace the soundtrack with something more dynamic and it might be easy to mistake this with a Crowe film.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Some will classify Let the Right One In as a horror movie, and I suppose that's technically accurate. To me, however, this is much more of a coming-of-age/friendship movie.
    • 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
    As in all powerful films, the content unfolds onion-like, with each level being peeled back to show something fascinating beneath.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    At times, the movie gets bogged down in minutia but the emotions evoked and captured are as honest and brutal as one is likely to find on film.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Christopher Nolan has provided movie-goers with the best superhero movie to-date, outclassing previous titles both mediocre and excellent, and giving this franchise its "The Empire Strikes Back."
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    With Get Shorty, Sonnenfeld has shown that broad appeal doesn't necessarily equate with stupidity. That's a lesson Hollywood should learn.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Light entertainment, this is not. Unforgettable and challenging cinema, it is.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Good, solid entertainment.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    Eastern Promises is a jumbled string of mob-related clichés that mesh into something that’s derivative and at times uninteresting.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Although there's little wrong with the first two-thirds, A History of Violence slides onto a tangential path during its final act, and this misstep reduces the production's overall effectiveness.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    When it comes to mockumentary parodies, no one does it better than Christopher Guest.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The cumulative experience leaves an aftertaste that, although not bitter, is too strong to be easily washed away. That's the mark of a worthwhile 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    For those with any interest in 18th and 19th century seafaring or naval warfare, this is a must-see motion picture. For others, it's an enlightening and entertaining experience.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Bright Star is a nice ode to the poet, the love of his life, and the period in which he lived.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's not comfortable but it is engrossing.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is the kind of charming motion picture that can be viewed repeatedly without ever wearing out its welcome. With several triumphant musical numbers, an original villain, a smart and witty script, a cute romance, and a new, upbeat ending, this Little Shop of Horrors offers countless delights during its 94-minute running time.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A little too long and suffers from a sagging midsection when the level of exposition becomes laborious, but the spectacularly entertaining final 30 minutes compensates for a lot of flaws.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Despite the occasional brutality of the material, Django Unchained includes some of the best laugh aloud scenes of any 2012 motion picture, regardless of the genre.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    I'm sure mainstream audiences will be baffled, but, for those with at least a minimal appreciation of Woolf and Clarissa Dalloway, The Hours represents two of those well spent.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    In the Company of Men is anything but entertaining. It's virtually impossible to sit through this film without suffering bouts of intense discomfort, and therein lies its power.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Imperfect, but magical nonetheless.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The film isn't deep or thematically rich or filled with amazing characters. Instead, it's an excursion into song and dance, and works admirably on that level.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    A charming piece of cinema that takes several comfortable formulas and expands upon them in ingenious and emotionally-satisfying ways.
    • 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.
    • 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
    The best of the trio of human performers is Naomi Watts. She also has the most difficult job - not only is the role physical, but it requires her to play off something that isn't there.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    There is something special about the production, with its brash, vivid style, indelible performances by movie icons, and bold mixture of violence and comedy, romance and tragedy.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is no longer the James Bond we know from the '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. Welcome to the new world of MI6's most storied agent.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The film is constructed in such a way that suspension of disbelief isn't too hard because there's something universal in what Allen explores. Like Santa Claus, we know it's not real but the idea is so appealing that we go along with the fantasy.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    There's a lot of fun to be had in watching The World's End and, surprisingly, more thematic depth than one might expect. The humor, true to its British roots, may baffle some Americans but those who "get" it will laugh quite a bit.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Anyone who watches District 9 and doesn't think of Apartheid, Nazis, and Josef Mengele needs to spend some time reading a few history books.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Ultimately, Bad Education must be considered to be a minor effort from a major director.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Ultimately, this is an engaging, uplifting, and life-affirming motion picture that reminds viewers that it is possible to do interesting things with a romantic comedy while still sticking to some of the conventions.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The transformation undergone by Michelle Williams to play this role is nothing short of astounding.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    There is sadness and humor here, but all understated.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    It's ironic that a film with this title should be among the most vital, alive, and challenging cinema experiences of the year.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Despite the many laughs Love and Death offers, it never takes cheap shots. It has a vibrant, beating heart - and that makes the comedy all the more worthwhile.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Features minimal dialogue. It is mostly about mood and images, and it moves at a glacial pace.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    There's something old-fashioned about Everlasting Moments. Although the shots are beautifully composed, they are classically represented. Both the filmmaking methods and the storytelling are uncomplicated.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Melancholia represents von Trier at his best and worst. Visually and thematically, Melancholia is a rich motion picture, full of nuances. Unfortunately, in his pursuit of an artistic vision, von Trier has thrown logic, physics, and coherence out the window.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    One of the best-constructed, funniest, and most clever comedies to grace motion picture screens in recent years. It's outrageous, offensive, and even a little sick -- and all the more enjoyable because of it.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    This film is sometimes funny, sometimes joyful, and sometimes poignant, but it's always warm, wonderful, and satisfying. Cinema Paradiso affects us on many levels, but its strongest connection is with our memories.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Pride will get viewers cheering while reflecting upon how far we have come in 30 years… and how far we have yet to go.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 38 James Berardinelli
    Movies like this usually have something interesting to say about the human condition, but not Nine Lives. It makes an insufferably obvious observation: we live boring lives, shit happens, and we die.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Coens have fashioned one of the best Westerns in recent years - a modern reworking of a classic that never feels superfluous.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Despite rave reviews, film festival awards, and an Oscar nomination, Spellbound comes across as little more than a marginally compelling documentary -– the kind of movie that would be at home on PBS.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A touching, well-made motion picture whose only real flaw lies in the overfamiliar storyline.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Miyazaki may not have achieved the level of "Spirited Away," but he's still ahead of the curve.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A drama about isolation and communication, The Band's Visit is characterized both by strongly delineated characters and low-key comedy. The movie is not lightweight but it is at times lighthearted.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The tone is lighthearted and the performances are effective but, in the end, the feature is so inconsequential as to leave no lasting impression.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Like other actors who successfully create a cinematic doppelganger of a real person, Strathairn gets under the character's skin.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Deep Water is a documentary, but it's also one part adventure film, one part Greek tragedy, and one part meditation on the role of the "hero" in modern society.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Ultimately, despite flirting with some darker subjects, Little Miss Sunshine lives up to its name.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Howard and Morgan have transformed this story into something more than an embellished re-telling of recent history. They have shaped a tragedy that is almost Shakespearean in force.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    As the beginning of Part II echoes the opening of "The Godfather," so too does the end. Because of the manner in which circumstances are handled and considering the people involved, the impact here is more forceful. The tragic flaw has accomplished its poisonous, inevitable designs. Coppola punctuates both movies with a gut-twisting exclamation point.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    It affirms that, even in the 2000s, movies do not have to be brain-dead to be exciting. When the season is over, Minority Report will more than likely stand out as the best picture to grace multiplex screens during the Summer of 2002.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Although the majority of the movie focuses on the interaction between Mark and Cheryl, there is a third character in the mix. Catholic priest Father Brendan, played by William H. Macy, belongs to a liberal wing of the Church found only in movies.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Does what all good National Geographic documentaries do: it informs and entertains while providing interesting wildlife footage. Unfortunately, it's not cinematic.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Story itself is richly rewarding and uplifting -– the coming-of-age tale of a girl who must defy the odds to achieve her goals. There's plenty of humor to keep the overall tone light.

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