James Berardinelli

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For 3,192 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 3.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Berardinelli's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 21 Grams
Lowest review score: 0 Captivity
Score distribution:
3192 movie reviews
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    With names like Spielberg, Hanks, and the Coen Brothers, it's hard not to be excited about a project like Bridge of Spies. Yet, although the workmanlike production is solidly engaging, it falls short of the loftiest expectations. It's worth seeing but not one of the best films of 2015.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Like "Raging Bull", Foxcatcher is a dark drama masquerading as a sports movie.
    • 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
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Raw
    It relies on gross-out scenes to earn the right to be called “disturbing” and seems more interested in delivering schlocky shocks than suffocating the viewer with suspense or dread.
    • 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
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The title character never emerges from the iconic shell she inhabits to become a fully fleshed-out individual and the filmmakers are perhaps too reverential to make her seem real. Like Camelot, she’s a mythic figure and Jackie doesn’t do enough to humanize her.
    • 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
    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
    Using gallows humor, likable protagonists, and a variety of nonstandard filmmaking techniques (like having characters address the audience directly), McKay maintains a high level of energy for more than two hours and dares us to become bored.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Moana is an entertaining and worthy way to close Disney’s 2016 animated roster.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    The storyline is more interesting and ambitious, the characters -- little more than appealing types in the original -- are allowed to grow and develop, the special effects are more mature, and the tone is deliciously dark and downbeat. [Special Edition]
    • 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
    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
    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
    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
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    At first glance, Inherent Vice might seem to be a detective story. Look a little closer, however, and it becomes clear that this is Paul Thomas Anderson's idea of a comedy. There's slapstick, lowbrow material, and enough strange characters and "completely different" moments to make Monty Python smile.
    • 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
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    So what’s the final verdict? A mixed bag. It’s a good start to a new trilogy but hardly the hoped-for masterpiece. It’s a solid space opera spectacle with enough nostalgia to overpower even the most hard-hearted child of the ‘70s and ‘80s but it relies a little too much on recycling old plot elements.
    • 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
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This is science fiction for sophisticated audiences and, as such, a fulfilling and satisfying experience.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It is a rich and challenging motion picture that both affirms life and emphasizes its fragility. Eastwood touches our hearts and energizes our minds without resorting to overt manipulation.
    • 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.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    The Proposal follows a paint-by-numbers script, it fails one key acid test: it doesn't sell the romance.
    • 80 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Connie (Robert Pattinson) is one of those individuals who constantly seems to be on the edge of a violent explosion and that potential makes watching Good Time a frequently exhausting 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.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A touching, well-made motion picture whose only real flaw lies in the overfamiliar storyline.
    • 80 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.
    • 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
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The battle between Max and The Blaster in Beyond Thunderdome may be the best the series has to offer.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Ultimately, despite flirting with some darker subjects, Little Miss Sunshine lives up to its name.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    The blend of quick-moving adventure, familiar faces, lowbrow slapstick, highbrow wit, and visual style offers more than one thing to just about everyone. And, with an ending that mocks the idea of happily ever after, Time Bandits concludes perfectly.
    • 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
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The movie's point, which is impossible to miss, is that it's hard being black & gay in America and, while there's undoubtedly truth in that sentiment, it doesn't necessarily make for a compelling motion picture circa 2011.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Despite the grim, serious nature of the subject matter, Meirelles unearths occasional moments of humor, although they are often of the gallows variety.
    • 79 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Manages the task of being both heartbreaking and heart-warming.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    This role could represent a career performance for Cheadle, whose forceful and multi-dimensional portrayal keeps Hotel Rwanda at a consistently high level.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    One of those rare films whose historical impact outweighs its quality. It's a good film, but not a classic. Yet, although little more than a socially conscious, well executed science fiction adventure film, Planet of the Apes arrived in theaters at just the right time to capture the country's imagination.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This isn't a revolutionary or thematically rich motion picture, but it's a well-told story featuring solid performances and a nice sense of atmosphere.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Gone Girl is a rare movie: a delicious thriller that provides plenty of titillation and gruesome pleasure while offering a dollop of social commentary. It's smart, twisted, bloody, and almost guaranteed to satisfy anyone with a penchant for the macabre.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a fine motion picture with a couple of superlative performances. It is arguably the best, most honest bio-pic of the year.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    In the wasteland of August releases, this entry shines like a beacon lighting the way to a theater.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Loving is an important and interesting motion picture but it’s not always as involving as it might have been.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The movie eventually achieves a level of powerful drama…but only after dithering for more than an hour.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The movie's action largely takes place beneath the skin. The pace is slow but not glacial, yet Claudel demands patience. Ultimately, I've Loved You So Long is uplifting, although one might not expect that from the thematic material.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Character development is of secondary importance to narrative and theme. As a result, we never really get to know any of the film's protagonists.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Tells a good, intelligent story that keeps us interested and involved.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The presence of so many low-key performers gives A Serious Man a very different, distinctly non-Hollywood vibe. The absence of familiar faces allows the Coens to fully immerse their audience in the time (1967) and place (the U.S. Midwest) of the story.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It is for a particular audience - those who like films that concentrate on character rather than plot, and who aren't put off by subtitles.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Cast against type is Amy Adams. Normally tabbed for sweet and innocent roles, Adams here dons the persona of a confrontational bitch.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a simple story of human drama that provides an incentive to spend a couple of hours in a movie theater during a spring that has not provided many such reasons.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    From a purely visual standpoint, this may be the most impressive of all of Disney's traditionally animated features.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Mamet illustrates that he can work as capably from someone else's script as he can from his own, and that his talent as a director is not eclipsed by his ability as a writer.
    • 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."
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    May not have much thematic depth, but it represents two hours of pure, exuberant entertainment – an epic gangster tale rendered on a grand scale.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Affliction is for anyone willing to take the journey into the heart and soul of a troubled man on the edge.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Life of Pi is a curious juxtaposition of the mundane and the majestic; a film that strives for something grander than what it perhaps achieves.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    One aspect of Let Me In that makes this motion picture unique is the sense of pathos underlying the various relationships.

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