James Berardinelli
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For 2,764 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 5.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Berardinelli's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Dead Man Walking
Lowest review score: 0 Knock Off
Score distribution:
2,764 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 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
    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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    The first is the best. When it comes to this kind of thriller, no movie has been able to top Jaws, although many have tried. And, as the years go by, it seems increasingly unlikely that anything will come close.
    • 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
    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
    Mother delights in confounding viewer expectations. In fact, just when you think it's over, a couple of plot developments remain lurking around the next corner.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    This is one of those unusual films that is capable of enthralling those under twelve while not sending older members of the audience rushing for the exit.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    My admiration for I Am Love is higher than my appreciation, and its appeal will be limited to an exclusive audience.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    It is a triumph, and one of 1998's few "don't miss" motion pictures.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    From the beginning, it's clear this is not a standard-order action film. It takes its characters as seriously as its chases, shootouts, and fights.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The film's dramatic underpinning and the way it addresses impending empty nest syndrome are solid but the comedy varies from mildly amusing to achingly awful.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    "28 Days Later," while not terribly original, was suspenseful and involving. 28 Weeks Later is neither. The characters aren't as sympathetic or interesting.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The arrival of the uncut Godzilla is a great boon to monster movie fans, but will have limited appeal to others.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    In essence, Control is a standard order biopic of a tormented artist. What makes the film interesting, if not unique, is the style in which director Anton Corbijn has elected to present it.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's a gentle, unhurried drama about how people can connect with each other through conversation, nonverbal gestures, and writing.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Blue Jasmine is an exercise in examining the lead character's mental degeneration. The end result, a performance-driven character study, offers an experience more akin to what one might expect from the late John Cassavetes than from the still very much alive Woody Allen.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Hellboy II is solid entertainment, but it's a shame such blemishes prevent it from achieving a higher level.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's an ingenious premise that first-time director Jan De Bont has turned into a tremendously well-executed motion picture.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Grabs you by the throat and digs its claws in deep. From the moment that the unwitting viewer tumbles into the realm of Lawrence Tierney's gang of eight, they are hopelessly trapped there until the final credits roll.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's a dark and revealing movie, and, while the ending may not be upbeat enough for those expecting mainstream fare, it offers a measure of hope and a catharsis.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The director is a poet of images.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Quirky and stylish, but not in a manner that comes across as overly artsy or pretentious.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's as existential as a sci-fi/horror film can possibly be. It requires that the viewer slip into a meditative mood and remain there for more than 90 minutes.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    From an historical perspective, the story is interesting because it shows a different side of the war than what we're used to observing in motion pictures.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a fine tale of families and secrets, and its seemingly cold exterior gives way to something unexpectedly warm and soft inside.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Dark Knight Rises ultimately justifies its length (in fact, a good argument could be made for a longer cut) and the last 45 minutes is nothing short of spectacular. From the point where the narrative takes a leap of faith, it never lets up.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Easy isn't much of an acting challenge, but Washington's mix of charm and intensity creates an appealing personae.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    It demands thought, compels the attention, and refuses to be dismissed. And, for that reason, A Clockwork Orange must be considered a landmark of modern cinema.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The critical question for the movies' producers is whether Harry will be as popular now that his legions of stalwarts know how it all ends. The smart money would be on answering that question with a resounding "yes!"
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    There's something almost hypnotic about the way Hard Eight develops -- even in its slowest, most tedious moments, it keeps our attention.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Whedon has made the Bard accessible and that achievement places him alongside Branagh in the exclusive club of directors who can handle both superheroes and Shakespeare effectively.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    An accomplished film that uses dark humor to leaven its serious topics.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    Perhaps it's the lack of sex or perhaps it's the incessant, banal chattering of the characters, but this movie is more likely to inspire sleep than interest. Breillat has done something I never expected from her: made a boring film.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Under the relentless glare of the Midnight Sun, the only darkness is in the hearts and actions of the characters.
    • 78 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]
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Sayles cannily blends drama, romance, mystery, and social observation into a satisfying, if slightly overlong, whole. In the hands of a lesser film maker, this material could easily have degenerated into routine melodrama, but Sayles keeps it on a consistently high level.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The length and uneven pacing are stumbling blocks with which an audience must contend. Patient viewers will be rewarded; others may wish for something with less subtlety and more verve.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    What Linklater does exceptionally well is open the door on an era seventeen years in the past. This is 1976, from the music and cars...to the people and their attitudes. You'd have to climb into a time machine to get a better view...However, this is light entertainment -- nothing groundbreaking or even especially noteworthy.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Viewers will discover that the film has something to offer nearly everyone, whether they are a novice or a black belt in kung fu cinema.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A flawed but entertaining (and perhaps informative) tale.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    As profound and intelligent as it is moving, and that makes this memorable motion picture one of 1996's best.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Christian Bale continues to amaze with his ability and range.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Happy Feet ends on an upbeat note with singing and dancing, but the weaknesses that precede it deflate the euphoria.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Has as much depth as it has energy and action.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Before Sunrise speaks as much to the mind as to the heart, and much of what it says is likely to strike a responsive chord -- a rare and special accomplishment for any motion picture.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Perhaps the most impressive feat of this film is sustaining white-knuckle tension even though the chain of events is well-known.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Wong infuses his films with style and energy. His hand-held camera is restless, always moving and shifting. The action sequences are punctuated with unusual shots and stop-motion jumps. By filming Chungking Express in such rich, vibrant manner, the director uses visual images to underscore his themes.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Magic on celluloid -- fresh, funny, romantic, and upbeat. You'll leave the theater with a smile on your face and perhaps a tear in your eye.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    As is usually the case with a well made sports movie, you don't have to appreciate the particular sport in order to enjoy the movie. 8 Mile has not been made solely with fans of hip-hop music in mind.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    As with most political thrillers, The Ghost Writer emphasizes plot development and atmosphere over action. It's an "adult" thriller as opposed to one designed for viewers suffering from ADD.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Usual Suspects is an accomplished synthesis of noir elements and, as such, is an entertaining entry to the genre.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A Bug's Life, like “Toy Story,” develops protagonists we can root for, and places them in the midst of a fast-moving, energetic adventure.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    A Single Man tells us about love, isolation, and sorrow, but never makes us feel any of those things.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    More substantive than the average thriller/road movie.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Kekexili is about how human beings, when passionate about something, can put everything, including their lives, at risk for a cause.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The kind of movie where it's necessary to put aside pretensions and enjoy the product on its terms, with all the sexiness, violence, gore, and camp as part of the parcel. This is three-plus hours of gleeful-but-guilty escapism.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Pump Up the Volume, in addition to presenting an engaging story, has tapped into a universal truth about rebels with causes.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The stunning Lisa Ray, a Bollywood exile, makes one of the most beautiful widows ever to grace the screen. Vidula Javalgekar gives a memorable turn as the infirm "Auntie." But the real find is Sarala, a Sri Lankan girl who memorized dialogue in a language she does not understand and delivers it with conviction.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    An engaging romantic comedy that would have been better if the audience wasn't constantly being distracted by mediocre video quality and jerky camera movements.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    An infectious celebration of life and love.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's those moments and others and the way they are tied together by Shepherd's tongue-in-cheek narration that cements A Christmas Story as one of those rare must-see holiday movies, even for those who don't celebrate Christmas.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The final half-hour of Broken Embraces is littered with facile contrivances and plot turns worthy of a soap opera. It's almost mystifying, and more than a little frustrating, to watch a movie cruising at such a high level suddenly suffer a complete breakdown and lose too much altitude.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    A bleak, black satire that occasionally strays all the way into "Pulp Fiction" territory.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Offers the prospect of seeing beyond the stereotypes that plague Native Americans in even the best films.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The result is a sharp, insightful, charming motion picture.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A workmanlike thriller that provides solid performances; a mixture of comedy, tension, and drama; and an engaging storyline. But there's nothing extraordinary about the movie.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's simple and well-told, although nothing about it is breathtakingly original.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Together, Crystal and Ryan really click. Even though their characters are polar opposites (or perhaps because of it), their interaction has a charm and warmth that most motion picture pairings lack.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Perhaps the most impressive thing that Newell has done with Donnie Brasco is to cull an atypically low-key and introspective performance from Al Pacino, an actor known for manic, scenery-chewing efforts.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The acting is uniformly superb.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The 30-minute finale, which includes a tense stand-off with Ben's gang, is masterfully executed. It's perfectly paced, suspenseful, and ends in a way that's both appropriate and satisfying.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Jane Eyre is good enough to provide lovers of classic literature with a reason to venture to theaters without being subjected to a salacious or demeaning adaptation.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In today's environment, it's a rare thing to find a movie with interesting characters in dense, intelligent storylines, but that's what Syriana offers. It is one of the best films of 2005.

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