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 Atonement
Lowest review score: 0 The Informers
Score distribution:
1,480 movie reviews
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This is one of those movies whose empty-headed premise is so pure it's witty: with his insatiable need for excitement, the hero is a perfect stand-in for the fanboys in the audience.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Gyllenhaal turns the young ex-con into an enormously sympathetic figure, but by the end there's no denying that her need for the girl is as selfish as her addiction.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The movie's realism is unimpeachable, though American cops might be stunned by the idea of a half-dozen detectives being assigned to the murder of an anonymous floater.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Parts of this are screamingly funny, other parts downright stomach turning, but you have to admire the fact that, for these guys, "anything for a laugh" really means anything. And for all the moronic behavior, there are also some inspired dadaist moments.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Contrary to some reports, this is not Jet Li's last action movie--he already has another in postproduction--but it represents his farewell to wushu, the martial-arts tradition that made him an international star.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Director Todd Phillips has become Hollywood's go-to guy for collegiate humor, and though this isn't as funny as his "Road Trip," "Old School," or "Starsky & Hutch," there are some choice sequences of the devious Thornton schooling his milquetoast students.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Dramatically objectifies the unfair trade practices that help keep Africa mired in poverty.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Documentarians Adam Del Deo and James Stern present a cogent and comprehensive postmortem of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The visual monotony of talking heads and stock footage is interrupted occasionally by the spectral charcoal drawings of veteran Si Lewen, though his art is used to full advantage only when he describes the liberation of Buchenwald.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Ali Selim, a highly successful director of commercials in Minneapolis, makes his feature directing debut with this simple and beautifully paced drama, letting the characters breathe and the land speak.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Debuting as director, Ayer once again points his loose cannon directly into the body politic: the protagonist of this sour but haunting tale is a crazed army ranger just returned from overseas (Christian Bale) who's so full of war that even the LAPD won't hire him.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    An excellent British drama adapted by Alan Bennett (The Madness of King George) from his celebrated play.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Compared to the crucifixion, the nativity doesn't offer as much inherent drama for secular viewers, but screenwriter Mike Rich (The Rookie) generates a fair amount of suspense by framing the action with Herod's slaughter of the innocents, and the journey of the Three Wise Men supplies a warm comedic subplot.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Set in postwar Berlin, the story involves prostitution, black marketeering, and the death camps, and the tension between the visual style and the adult story makes the movie pretty engrossing -- it's an R-rated "Casablanca."
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Luckily LaGravenese has incorporated some of the real students' piercingly honest diary entries and rounded up an engaging cast of unknowns and young actors (April Hernandez, Kristin Herrera, Hunter Parrish) to channel their anger and hopelessness.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The message, unspoken but inescapable, is that a little sharing might feed wealthy and poor alike.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Subtlety is not his strong suit--all the characters here are either adorable or loathsome--yet Perry has toned down the pandering materialism, evangelism, and black empowerment of "Madea's Family Reunion" and "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," letting his heart-tugging story tell itself.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This family feature from the Christian production company Walden Media is something of a disappointment after its excellent "Holes" and "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Flawed but ambitious, this biopic of British parliamentarian William Wilberforce closely tracks the political maneuvering of the late 18th and early 19th century as reformers campaign to end Britain's participation in the slave trade.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Tends to let his consumers off the hook--you'd hardly guess that any of these people are responsible for their own financial woes.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    For a family picture this is still superior.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Though the pain of this 9/11 story doesn't pierce as deeply as it should, the laughs are consistently humane.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Jensen's dramatic structure is so visible this sometimes seems like a late Rod Serling teleplay, but Bier has proved highly adept at merging conventional drama with the immediacy of the Dogma 95 movement.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Novelist Douglas Coupland (Generation X) brings his millennial irony and middle-class angst to the big screen with this offbeat Canadian comedy about the lure of easy money.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Despite the gimmicky direction and a disappointing climax, this is a distinctive and unsettling comedy.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Too many extraneous elements have been added--the victim here is an aborigine, which prompts a racial backlash against the men and their families--but at the movie's center lies the knotty story of a marriage poisoned by amorality.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    A biting academic fable about the importance of aggression over intellect.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Milos Forman's "Amadeus" (1984) is so ingrained in the popular imagination that its portrait of Mozart may never be dispelled, but this thorough and insightful 2006 documentary presents a more rounded and compelling view of the high-spirited genius.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Unlike high school movies made for the teen market, Chalk gets many of its laughs from the backstage wrangling among the teachers as they unload their stress on one another.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Klores and Stevens don't have much to work with visually besides talking heads, old photos, news clippings, and stock footage, but with a narrative this insane, that's more than enough.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The same virtue doesn't apply to his commentary, which is too general to rise above the pedestrian; the movie works best traveling from the eye straight to the conscience.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Functions primarily as a suspense film, and it manages to be gripping even though the outcome is already known.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Sunshine does for sci-fi what "28 Days Later" . . . did for the zombie movie -- its tale about a manned space mission to the sun preys on our growing fear of obliteration as we confront global warming.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The video lapses into self-congratulation near the end, as many of the principals reunite for a 2002 retrospective, but for the most part this is a powerful tale of conscience, betrayal, and forgiveness.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Quietly written and convincingly played, this coming-of-age story mines its rueful laughs from a thick vein of performance anxiety, in both senses of the term.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Cagey low-budget horror flick.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Treacle takes over in the last act, but most of this fact-based story by screenwriters Michael Bortman and Allison Burnett takes the inspirational sports drama into unexpected and morally complex territory.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    After a 40-year career playing jut-jawed a__holes, Michael Douglas must relish the occasional oddball role: he gave a winning performance as the pot-addled professor in "Wonder Boys," and he seems to be having a ball in this funny debut feature by Mike Cahill.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Like "The Verdict," this is a big, crowd-pleasing Hollywood redemption drama in which the lonely hero not only thwarts the corporate villains in the end but silences them with a killer riposte.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    With a score by the Residents, cartoon art by Warren Heise and Timothy Stock, and scenes of the actors commenting on and interacting with the real-life Kurtz, this 2006 advocacy video brings a jumpy energy to its Orwellian tale.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Occasionally a movie's subject outweighs any aesthetic flaws, as it does in this unsettling thriller about the extraordinary rendition of terror suspects.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Bier is one of the cinema's most acute observers of intimate relations, her Scandinavian reserve muting the inherent melodrama of her material, and she draws piercing, modestly scaled performances from Duchovny, Del Toro, Alison Lohman, and John Carroll Lynch.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Cate Blanchett returns to the role that made her a star, and though this sequel to "Elizabeth" (1998) is less defensible as history, as florid costume drama it's just as entertaining.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    With one of these two alpha males anchoring nearly every scene, Scott really can't go wrong, but the lead characters are pretty thin, a fact highlighted by generic subplots.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Effective advocacy film about the genocide in Darfur.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Once the competition arrives, the premise begins to suggest a marketing hook--it's "Spellbound" meets "The Devil Came on Horseback"!--but by then it's already served its purpose, imposing some structure around memories that would drive anyone mad.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    In this 2006 entry the insights are worthwhile.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    In the finest tradition of adolescent identification figures, he's not only ruthless, dispatching numerous baddies with hair-trigger shots to the head, but profoundly desexualized, brushing off the insistent come-ons of a slinky prostitute (Olga Kurylenko) he's taken under his wing.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Darabont doesn't match the sly cultural commentary of "The Host," a recent Korean import that also revamped the giant-monster genre, but his grocery-store survival drama, dominated by Marcia Gay Harden as a shrill fundamentalist, serves as a crude but effective allegory for post-9/11 America.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The popcorn elements are well handled, but what lingers is the sense of urban despair: watching old videotapes of the Today show, carrying on friendships with mannequins, Smith turns out to be no legend at all, just another New Yorker slowly dying of loneliness.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The story might have been lifted from an old Warner Brothers melodrama, though it's smartly paced, sincerely delivered, and consistently absorbing.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The narrative conceit requires a fair amount of indulgence as the story progresses, but the fleeting, incomplete glimpses of the monster early on prove the old dictum of B movie auteur Val Lewton that a momentary image can have greater impact than a prolonged one.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The 3-D element is unobtrusively handled, except when it perfectly re-creates the woman who's always perched on her boyfriend's shoulders in front of you at a concert.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Fascinating: supposedly the crooks kept all the cash and jewelry, but their sponsors in the MI5 were really after sexually explicit blackmail photos of Princess Margaret and other aristocrats that were being held by the revolutionary Michael X.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    A power­ful drama, but if I didn’t know Green had directed it I probably wouldn’t have guessed.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The outcome is never much in doubt, but Salvadori artfully choreographs the endless table turning, and the Moroccan-born Elmaleh capitalizes on his striking resemblance to Buster Keaton with a similarly comic composure.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    First-time director Chen Shi-Zheng shows great sensitivity to the pressure and isolation felt by Chinese brains at American universities, and the relationship between Liu and Quinn provides a rare look at the intellectual serfdom of graduate study.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    It's a classic fight movie, with Chiwetel Ejiofor as an honorable martial arts instructor...But nesting inside is a sour little 70s-style David Mamet play about the lies, calculations, and ice-cold politics of Hollywood, as the fighter is befriended and then discarded by a callow movie star.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    XXY
    Moody and thoughtful.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The movie is enjoyable for its flashy surfaces--the witty editing, the narrative forecasting, the droll omniscient voice-over--but as drama it seems superficial.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Like so many satires in the Strangelove mold, this never comes close to working as a story, but its lampoon of U.S. imperialism and military privatization is so bracingly obnoxious I didn't really care.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    It plays exactly like a Will Ferrell comedy, but better, because Ferrell's not in it.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    There's nothing remotely new here, but the movie has the taut, queasy feel of an early 70s drive-in shocker: old-fashioned suspense without any guarantee of old-fashioned mercy.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    As popcorn movies go, this is fleet, funny, and even thoughtful: its central question, nicely underplayed by director Peter Berg, is why power and altruism never seem to intersect.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Becomes more engrossing as its focus shifts from Isherwood to Bachardy, who began as the bashful boy toy of a famous author but gradually emerged in his own right as a portrait artist of striking (and merciless) insight.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Feels a little soft and boomer-indulgent with its 10,000th rehash of the Nixon years and its soundtrack of trite 60s anthems.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The purpose of the Bond girl, and of the Bond film, is still to stroke the male ego. Bond changes just enough to stay exactly the same.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Coogan's screen persona is vain, dim, angry, and deeply miserable, and his handful of scenes here with a smilingly harsh Catherine Keener are little masterpieces of comic sadomasochism.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The emotions are as gritty as the Edinburgh locales, and the sex is dark, urgent, and deeply selfish.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    In this comedy by David Koepp, Gervais handles the big, crowd-pleasing gags with aplomb.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    I'd hate to guess whether most Americans know, any more than these fictional partygoers, what soldiers go through in Iraq. But if the market for movies about the war is any indication, they don't want to.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The mainstream acceptance of porn has also disarmed Smith's formerly outrageous humor, though there's a warm "Boogie Nights"-style vibe to the little family of oddballs Zack and Miri recruit to help them.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This functions perfectly well as a Van Damme vehicle, but it's also a funny and poignant look at a man trapped by his own ridiculous reputation.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Milk is steeped in the street-level details of acquiring and applying power, and a few early episodes show how clearly Milk understood the economic component.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Vigalondo explores it (time travel) just enough to keep this thriller moving, and Karra Elejalde is entirely convincing as the unwilling time traveler, who finds himself threatened by not only his past self but his future one as well.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The revelation that Winslet’s character is a war criminal is the centerpiece of The Reader, but surrounding the Holocaust morality play is another story that’s more modestly scaled and, in this age of unashamed romance between older women and younger men, more contemporary.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    As a suspense movie, this works pretty well: director Bryan Singer (X-Men, The Usual Suspects) maintains a crisp pace as the plotters set out to kill the fuhrer with a briefcase bomb, and the historical details of the botched coup, which exploited one of Hitler's own contingency plans to mobilize the army reserves and disarm the SS, are inherently interesting.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    You know you're in for a hard-core art film when you hear more people raving about its opening shot than the movie itself.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    In its voluble mix of accident trauma and infidelity, this 2007 Danish feature by Ole Bornedal is highly reminiscent of Susanne Bier's superb "Open Hearts."
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Quicker on the uptake than any of Eddie Murphy's fat ladies, quicker even than Flip Wilson's Geraldine Jones.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Ron Howard directed, with outstanding support from Kevin Bacon as Jack Brennan, Nixon's fierce chief of staff.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Packed with dialogue and issues, and it’s most provocative when dealing with the dangers of plea bargaining.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Modeling the movie after the show itself grows problematic near the end, when Stern and Del Deo, anticipating that climactic, gold-suited kick line, try to whip us into a frenzy on opening night.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Scott Speedman gives a piercing, intelligent performance.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Coppola's fondness for the operatic gets the better of him as the action approaches a climax, but the movie is girded by a sense of knotty family history.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The movie reunites Pfeiffer with director Stephen Frears and screenwriter Christopher Hampton, who did Dangerous Liaisons (1988); this costume drama doesn't have nearly as much bite as that one, though the age reversal of its central romance gives it a certain topicality.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The murder trial and the possibility of a real attack on the attorney nicely offset the sexual gamesmanship, though the movie is badly compromised by a final left turn into serious drama and plot machination. Up until that point, it's an uncommonly shrewd and funny farce.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    A frightening portrait of a man whose technological genius fails to compensate for his gaping emotional deficits.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Echoes of James Whale’s Frankenstein movies reverberate through this creepy Canadian sci-fi tale, whose innocent, confused beast is alternately terrifying and pathetic.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The movie eventually begins to wilt under the sober, plodding direction of Steve Jacobs, but the thoughtful screenplay gives Malkovich a complex, increasingly reflective character arc that he plays with great feeling, making the professor’s redemption seem honestly won.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Compared to their first movie, "The Yes Men" (2003), this one focuses on many fewer hoaxes, but they're more elaborate and potent.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    In keeping with his models, West is concerned with not suspense exactly but the ritual withholding and ultimate lavishing of bloody chaos.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    So few movies these days concern themselves with ideas of any sort that a drama like this one, about a man humbled by the consequences of his own intellectual breakthrough, seems even more powerful.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Grimly mesmerizing saga.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) steals his every scene as the aphorism-spouting Fowley while Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning often fade into the 70s wallpaper as guitarist Joan Jett and front woman Cherie Currie.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Griffin's stand-up material is consistently upstaged by sequences of him interacting with old friends and family members.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The action is so relentless that after a while things start to feel hollow, but Rodriguez still seems to believe the moral articulated at the end of the first film -- that keeping a family together is the real adventure.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Smart and consistently funny, with sharp performances.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The comic juice tends to spill out in all directions.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Comes closer to deification than dramatization--a shame, since the film offers some powerful set pieces and jaw-dropping spectacle.

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