For 1,480 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 43% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1 point lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

J.R. Jones' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 Persepolis
Lowest review score: 0 The Quiet
Score distribution:
1,480 movie reviews
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Zhang weaves in both thrilling martial-arts set pieces and stunning studies of period silk tapestry and costume.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    At the very least, it's more honest and involved in its portraiture of American soldiers in Iraq than anything TV news of any political persuasion has given us.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Most comedies start with a straight story and hang jokes on it; Solondz begins with a cosmic joke and takes his characters by the hand as they suffer through it.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    This powerful South African drama turns on the debut performance of young Presley Chweneyagae as the hood, and it's magnificent: a stone-faced killer in the opening scenes, he becomes an open book as the story progresses, as frightened, confused, and needy as the baby he drags around town in a shopping bag.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Directed by John Hillcoat, this Aussie feature perfectly re-creates the charbroiled landscapes and cruel psychodrama of the old Sergio Leone westerns, with John Hurt particularly fine as a raging old mountain goat.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Of course no Western director can make a movie about Africa without being accused of colonialism himself, and some critics have faulted The Last King of Scotland for focusing on its white hero as black corpses pile up around him. But although the movie takes place on an international political stage, it's still a drama of individual allegiance.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    This seventh installment is utterly fascinating.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    As clever as he is crude, Cohen alchemizes bad-taste comedy into Strangelovean satire.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The production design is superb, and the actors deliver their dialogue in subtitled Yucatecan Maya, but despite all the anthropological drag, this is really just a crackerjack Saturday-afternoon serial.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Through it all Nader, as ruefully funny as ever, comments on his adventures.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The mix of dark humor, creeping suspense, and a sort of apocalyptic tenderness makes this the best horror flick in years.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The good humor bubbles up from a deep reservoir of affection for Hollywood schlock.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    For a movie about the importance of memory, Away From Her is appropriately sophisticated in its treatment of time. Polley has broken the chronological story into three sections of unequal length and woven them together, approximating our own mercurial journeys through the past.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The songs don't advance the narrative lyrically so much as follow the two characters' uncertain relationship through the slow realization of their themes; in particular a scene in which they first jam together in the back room of a music store is a gem.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The show has been the gold standard for satirical TV ever since it debuted in 1989. This long-awaited movie adaptation has plenty of laughs, plus an assortment of milestones for fans.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Atonement is that rare combo: a good movie based on a good book.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    If "Ratatouille" taught the world that rats have feelings too, Persepolis teaches the same thing about the people of Iran, who in the current political climate are probably in greater danger of being eradicated.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    A triumph not of reporting but of synthesis.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    In a truly great movie the form becomes indistinguishable from the story, and that’s certainly the case here.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The movie gradually deepens from odd-couple comedy into Catholic-themed drama, but it remains marvelously funny throughout. Instead of hitting the easy notes of black humor, McDonagh skillfully modulates between broad character laughs and the men's piercing anguish as the story nears its bloody conclusion.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Werner Herzog is a stranger in a strange land as soon as he gets out of bed in the morning: in this travelogue of Antarctica, his perverse curiosity and zest for the harshest extremes of nature transform what might have been a standard TV special into an idiosyncratic expression of wonder.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    After the portentous "No Country for Old Men," Joel and Ethan Coen return to their trademark brand of cruel, misanthropic farce, and for dark laughs and hurtling narrative momentum this spy caper is their best work since "Fargo."
    • 47 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Lakeview Terrace isn't literally about the riots, but it's still one of the toughest racial dramas to come out of Hollywood since the fires died down--much tougher, for instance, than Paul Haggis’s hand-wringing Oscar winner "Crash."
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    It's a damning indictment of a national disgrace, but it also reveals the incredible faith and resilience of people who have nothing to rely on but themselves.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Given the movie's slow, careful development, I was hardly prepared for the cold-sweat suspense of the last half hour.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Extraordinary 2008 French drama.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Visually witty, flawlessly played romantic comedy.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Such is the extraordinary achievement of The Hurt Locker: it has the perspective of years when those years have yet to pass.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    This drama about an obese, illiterate black teen in Harlem practically guarantees some emotional uplift. But when it arrives, eventually, its authority is unimpeachable, so deeply has director Lee Daniels (Monster's Ball) immersed us in the depths of human ugliness.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    An explosive but scrupulously journalistic drama about the radical group that terrorized Germany for nearly 30 years.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    A quantum leap in movie magic; watching it, I began to understand how people in 1933 must have felt when they saw "King Kong."
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The result is an instant classic. The material allows Anderson to neutralize the most irritating aspects of his work (the precociousness, the sense of white-bread privilege) and maximize the most endearing (the comic timing, the dollhouse ordering of invented worlds).
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The only person who seems to understand the angry teen is mom's new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender of Hunger), though their friendship oscillates between intimate and vaguely creepy.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Captivating, mesmerizing, spellbinding.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Holofcener's work is often classified as comedy of manners, but at her best she trades in something much more resonant--the comedy of mores. Here she dives into the fascinating matter of why some people impulsively give and others compulsively take, and how people are taught to second-guess and quash their own generous impulses.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Dogtooth, a bizarre black comedy from Greece that won the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2009 Cannes film festival, involves a conventional middle-class family--mom, dad, teenage son, two teenage daughters--that turns out to be warped beyond belief.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Though The Kids Are All Right sometimes smacks of political correctness, Cholodenko succeeds brilliantly in making her little clan seem completely run-of-the-mill.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    French director Gaspar Noe has kept a pretty low profile since his 2002 drama "Irreversible" notorious for its brutal nine-minute anal rape scene. But this epic, psychedelic mindfuck confirms him once again as the cinema's most imaginative nihilist.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The founding of Facebook becomes a tale for our times in this masterful social drama.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    I haven't seen the shorter version, but I would hate to lose one moment of the gripping 66-minute sequence-really the heart of the movie-in which Carlos plots and executes his spectacular 1975 raid on the meeting of OPEC ministers in Vienna.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Bridesmaids is hilariously funny, but what makes it exhilarating is how boldly it defies that conventional wisdom about what men and women like.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    A sense of reconciliation is Malick's great accomplishment in The Tree of Life, affording us equal wonder at grace and nature alike. 
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The real protagonist of Moneyball, however, is Beane himself, played with great charisma by Brad Pitt. (With this movie and "The Tree of Life" competing against each other, Pitt could wind up cheating himself out of an Oscar this year.)
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The movie is hugely compelling on a moral and emotional level - I was completely hooked - yet it also revealed to me in numerous small and concrete ways what it's like to live in a contemporary theocracy.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    As with the earlier movie, this one turns in on its own morality like a Möbius strip, endorsing kindness by practicing slaughter, and pulls us along for the ride. Detractors will call its reasoning ridiculous, and they'll be right - though I doubt that will bother Goldthwait, who makes a living being ridiculous.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    "The whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right," declares Hushpuppy, the fierce, nappy-headed girl at the center of this extraordinary southern gothic.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    An impressive mix of entertainment and social comment, spinning a great mystery even as it confronts an ugly world.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    One of cinema's most absorbing fantasies.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    It has all the virtues of fine stage drama: narrative economy, honest emotion, and characters so closely defined that the most pedestrian encounters between them are revelatory.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    In the last two decades rock documentaries have become ubiquitous on TV but marginalized as cinema; this is the rare exception that earns its place on the big screen.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Birmingham and coscreenwriter Matt Drake adapted a short story by Tom McNeal, elaborating on its plot but beautifully capturing its low-key poeticism.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Brutally honest and brilliantly acted.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    As this wonderful adaptation reminds us, Dickens endures mostly because of his characters.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Its intelligent characterizations make it one of the best movies I've seen this year.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    The experience couldn't be more realistic, though Cameron also superimposes imagery of passengers recalling the fateful night, to haunting effect.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    This installment delivers more of the pleasures that made Tarantino the wunderkind of 90s cinema: offbeat scumbag characters, narrative sleight of hand, an extraordinary visual sense, and affectionate genre pillaging.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Like the first movie this is unassailable family entertainment, with a gentle fairy tale for kids and a raft of mildly satirical pop-culture references for parents.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Like the first two movies, this is loaded with computer-generated imagery, but for the first time there's a sense of dramatic proportion balancing the spectacle and the story line.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Thomsen's transformation from easygoing entrepreneur to ruthless executive is so engrossing I didn't pick up on the story's chilling Freudian subtext until very near the end.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    A triumph not only for its technical mastery but for its good taste.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    A half-baked conspiracy subplot in the last third makes Carruth's knotty narrative even harder to follow, but this is still scary, puzzling, and different.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    The story unfolds at such length and over so many years that politics tend to fade into the wallpaper, leaving an exceptionally rich family story.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    So fraught with unresolved issues of class, sexuality, and spiritual need, and so carefully observed by Pawlikowski, that it opens out like the movie's West Yorkshire countryside.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Exhilarating.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    The hues are so muted you may remember this as a black-and-white film, but its emotions are as vivid as primary colors.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    At 85 minutes the movie is beautifully focused, reaching deep into its characters as they confront terrible secrets but never sacrificing momentum as the mystery unravels.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    The scenes are so dramatically cogent the characters' lives seem to stretch far beyond the concluding blackouts.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    A harrowing drama spun from the most mundane material.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    A superior nail-biter.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    This quiet, elegiac road movie hinges on a few beautifully underplayed scenes between Daniel London and Will Oldham.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Helen Mirren's flinty performance as Elizabeth II is getting all the attention, but equally impressive is Peter Morgan's insightful script for this UK drama, which quietly teases out the social, political, and historical implications of the 1997 death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    The outrages of pedophile priests have generated screaming headlines but relatively little understanding of the Catholic culture that permitted and concealed such crimes, which makes this informed documentary by Amy Berg all the more valuable.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    The script updates Ian Fleming's first Bond novel to a post-9/11 world and scales back the silliness that always seems to creep into the series; director Martin Campbell (The Mask of Zorro) contributes some superior action set pieces but keeps the camp and gadgetry to a minimum.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    The skillful Patrick Marber (Closer) adapted this gripping drama from a novel by Zoe Heller, and it's both literate and urgently plotted, with a voice-over from Dench that cuts like broken glass.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Critics have faulted this 2005 British feature about the Rwandan genocide for focusing on a couple of white characters instead of the 800,000 Tutsis who were slaughtered, but such easy judgments miss the point entirely: this is a spiritual drama, not a political one, drawing a thick line between our good intentions and the selfish choices we ultimately make.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    By focusing on Strummer and giving a fair amount of screen time to his years in the wilderness before and after the Clash, Temple arrives at a more poignant and mature statement of what this committed band was all about.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture) has made an electrifying picture.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Cluzet's brooding performance propels the movie, and writer-director Guillaume Canet, best known here for his own acting work in "Joyeux Noel" and "Love Me If You Dare," skillfully orchestrates the cascading revelations.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Hammer overplays his indie hand with an abrupt and unsatisfactory ending, but his three leads are so credible that their aching, tongue-tied characters linger in the memory.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Leigh pushes the story in a more interesting direction, asking whether people find happiness or simply will it on themselves.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Sinister and beautiful, this mostly black-and-white animation from France culls the talents of six artists and designers.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Despite all the horror and anguish, the film ends on a note of serene acceptance, deep gratitude toward the dead, and wonder at the unlikely miracle of life.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    This incredible but true story marks the first time Eastwood's signature themes have found expression in a woman's experience, and the absence of any distracting machismo only heightens his sense of helpless rage at the perpetual anguish of victims' families.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Todd Phillips is no artist, but his lowbrow comedies (Road Trip, Old School) always hit the mark because they're so psychologically true: the superego tries to control the id, but the id gets drunk and barfs all over it. Hilarious.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    After directing three Spider-Man movies, Sam Raimi makes a masterful return to the horror genre.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Its great distinction lies in re-creating an age when thoughts and feelings were to be carefully considered and precisely enunciated. The best costumers, set designers, and property masters can’t conjure up the mental and emotional spaces of a simpler era; that requires a filmmaker who knows the virtue of quiet, patience, and attentiveness.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    If you come to this expecting the philosophical depth and psychological detail of Tolstoy’s work you’re sure to be disappointed, but as an actors’ romp it’s delectable.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Some have suggested that the whole story, including the emergence of Mr. Brainwash, is an elaborate hoax engineered by Banksy to satirize the commodification of art. If so, it’s a brilliant one.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    The grand architecture of Milan and the icy rhythms of composer John Adams set the tone for this elegant Italian drama about the suffocating power of family, wealth, and tradition.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    A densely textured moral universe that makes good on his metaphoric title-and in this case, the animals are perfectly willing to eat their young.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Akin perfectly captures the antic pace, eccentric personalities, and fickle fortunes of the restaurant game, and his vision of the Soul Kitchen as an all-night bacchanal is irresistible.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    This moving documentary sidesteps the usual art-world debates over the authenticity and legitimacy of outsider work; instead director Jeff Malmberg simply immerses us in Hogancamp's world, just as Hogancamp immerses himself in the title town and its horrors.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Alternately harrowing and humbling, this is a story of ordinary men whose compassion is tested in the cruelest, most profound fashion.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Writer-director Jeff Nichols maintains a cagey balancing act for much of the movie, refusing to specify whether his protagonist is a prophet or a madman, yet in the end this doesn't really matter: the storm inside him is plenty real.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    This effort often manages to duplicate the magical pantomime of the era; a lovely scene in which Bejo drapes herself in the arms of a hung jacket as if it were a human lover could have come straight out of a Marion Davies picture.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    This is quick and unpredictable storytelling, its dialogue simple but tough. Alberto Jimenez is excellent as the conscience-stricken father, whose duty to respect the law tests his relationship with his own son, and both kids, Juan Jose Ballesta and Pablo Galan, give passionate, committed performances.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Melville's seedy characters and engrossing friendships are well preserved, thanks largely to strategic redeployment of his crisp dialogue. As revamped caper films go, this offers considerably more texture than Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean's 11."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Managed to pull the rug out from under me about three-quarters of the way through, and I still hadn't found my feet when the credits rolled.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Tom Hollander gives a strong performance as the considerate and quietly grieving young man.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The problem with these feats is that they threaten to overwhelm the film's content, both as complex historical commentary and as aesthetic and theoretical gesture.

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