James Poniewozik

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For 573 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 55% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Poniewozik's Scores

Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Atlanta: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 Dads: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 59 out of 573
573 tv reviews
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    This is war as it happened, brutal and random, and in re-creating it Brothers captures viscerally the extraordinary sacrifice of a generation of ordinary men. ... But unlike [Saving Private Ryan], which bared its fictional GIs' souls, Brothers fatally neglects to turn its cast into distinguishable characters.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The humor is minutely observed, but the improv reminds you how much nonactor Jerry Seinfeld benefited from comic backup and tight scripts.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 James Poniewozik
    There are no aliens, no teleporters and no lasers. And sadly--given creator Joss Whedon's track record with Buffy the Vampire Slayer--no laughs or thrills.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    From the mood lighting and stirring music to the hot-button story lines to the characters' arias on the august legacy of their show, Sorkin makes running a comedy program seem like negotiating an arms treaty.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    As an actual network drama--for me, the most important test--it relies too much on conventional showbiz plotlines and characters for me to get invested in it.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Its early episodes are a mix of power and disappointment.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    The tumult of Henry VIII's reign, especially the schism between him and the Catholic Church, is rich material, and the soap opera of his multiple wives is naturally absorbing: it's just a crime that Showtime couldn't do better with the material than the thinly written eye candy it came up with.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The character-building, unfortunately, is far weaker than the world-building. The dialogue is often B-movie grade, and Juliana and Frank, the closest thing the ensemble has to leads, are dull and dour.... That said, I finished six episodes eager to see the last four. High Castle is at least addictive as a mystery.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    There's something missing from this postapocalyptic drama, namely, a realistic feeling of apocalypse.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    There are at least the slivers of promise that the show could get better. Neff is amiably charming, Dillahunt and Plimpton give their characters a realism that belies the pilot's often-contemptuous jokes, and maybe 20% of the first episode shows a sweet-heartedness that rises above the easy white-trash humor.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    But after five episodes, Ray Donovan is still some good performances in search of a show. It feels made up of pieces of other antihero dramas--a little Sopranos here, a little Brotherhood there, even a little Entourage around the edges. Ray is so far too much a cipher to be an engaging focal character, and his flaws and failings are those of so many middle-aged cable ass-kickers in the past decade.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The biggest weakness of Bloodline is that the characters are types, straight down the line: the hardass dad, the soft-hearted mom, the peacemaker, the black sheep. And the scripts don’t do much to round them out.... They’re well-played types at least.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    It’s an ambitious, if not entirely coherent, sci-fi shoot-’em-up that questions nihilistic entertainment impulses while indulging them.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Cinema Verite is not a bad movie at all but its failing is an ironic one: it smooths out the messiness and non sequiturs of real life to fit its story into a neat feature-film arc.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 40 James Poniewozik
    The movie seems to want to make a larger point about modern politics from the way Palin's nomination was used by the flagging McCain campaign--as a shiny object to "change the narrative" and shift the buzz from Barack Obama--but the movie itself gets distracted by its own shiny object, Palin.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    Sometimes unwieldy, sometimes beautiful, Parade’s End is--like the turbulent new order it ushers in--a bit of a mess, with no easily identifiable good guys. This miniseries doesn’t tell you how to feel, and it’s not exactly bursting with charming, loveable characters. But there’s a poignance to its story of people realizing their orderly parade is breaking up all around them.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 42 James Poniewozik
    If you expect it to be good--then yes, it's as disappointing as the summer movie it follows. If you think of it as a kid-oriented spin-off product--well, it still suffers from characters with all the vibrancy and pizazz of a PowerPoint marketing plan.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 42 James Poniewozik
    True Blood makes little effort to rethink genre conventions.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Like many of ABC's post-Lost attempts at serials, this one has a great premise with tremendous potential, but I wish more attention had been paid to fleshing out the characters and generally bringing a fresher voice to the dialogue.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The comedy has all the ingredients, and Greer is perfectly cast... The problem so far is the writing. The jokes in the pilot were broader and more obviously than I'd have hoped, but the big isssue is that the writers need to find the right balance for Becky.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    Fallon's monologue was understandably nervous and unremarkable joke-wise, but there were glimmers of potential.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 40 James Poniewozik
    As long as all you ask of it is more familiar twists and backstabbing, you’ll probably be happy with it. If you felt (like I did) that the series had said all it had to say after eight years, the reboot looks skippable.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 James Poniewozik
    The combination has potential, but the execution, while offering glimpses into a fascinating subculture, is sluggish and unfocused.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The reason to stick with it is to see if this ambitious but self-conscious series becomes more than the sum of its affectations--flat line readings, characters with names like Mr. Smooth, precious tilted-camera shots to remind you how weird it all is.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The narrative gymnastics make the first half-hour of Quantico pass quickly and entertainingly. Too much of this, though, keeps you from investing much in the characters.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    The new episodes don’t have the old complexity, messiness and poignance. They don’t inspire the wild excitement of having no idea what’s going to come on the screen next. They don’t have that electric sense of experimenting on the fly. And they don’t seem to do what Harmon had them do, what Community itself did, which is: grow.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 58 James Poniewozik
    Ten years ago, Southland would have seemed revolutionary on TV. But now it does feel like network playing catch-up with cable.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 42 James Poniewozik
    It was back to what could largely have been a Leno monologue from before The Jay Leno Show, right down to a set of jokes about the previous Presidential administration.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    A blinged-out tour of the lifestyle of the rich and (for now) famous, Entourage is a funny but familiar diversion, lacking the darkness and edge that have distinguished HBO's best series.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 James Poniewozik
    It's an all-around high-class production. And yet, after watching two episodes, I had much the same thought I did after seeing a few minutes in May: the show basically seems like a stretched-out Law & Order episode.

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