For 1,480 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 55% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.8 points 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 Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Score distribution:
1480 movie reviews
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The story provides great roles for Jack Black as the sunny title character, Shirley MacLaine as his dyspeptic victim, and Matthew McConaughey as the good-old-boy D.A. who prosecutes the crime. But some of the best performances come from real-life residents of Carthage as they share their recollections on camera.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are enormously funny in this farce.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Scorsese transforms this innocent tale into an ardent love letter to the cinema and a moving plea for film preservation.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Gary Baseman's Emmy-winning cartoon series arrives on the big screen in a delightful blast of bold drawing, brainy humor, and hard-charging songs.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The movie never finds a consistent tone -- the humor is dynamically offbeat, the dramatic moments a bit canned -- but Braff's affection for his misfit characters and skeptical take on how people sell themselves short in America make this the truest generational statement I've seen since "Donnie Darko."
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Both hilarious and poignant, with a Capraesque humanity that caught me completely off guard.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    What begins as a one-night stand deepens, over the next two days, into a genuine romance as the young lovers embark on an epic dialogue that touches on the most profound questions of love, commitment, honesty, and identity.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Strange, unpredictable, and sometimes magical.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Smart and consistently funny, with sharp performances.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Poirer and director Noam Murro have trouble bringing this to a satisfying climax, but the characters are credible and sharply observed and all four actors go to town.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Actually I quite enjoyed the film -- but how do I get rid of this awful discharge?
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The comedy divides cleanly into dark, violent slapstick (much of it hilarious) and more routine gags highlighting the fanatical characters' foolishness and incompetence.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Studded with terrorist attacks... Yet Malkovich never exploits these for action-movie thrills: in each instance the loss of life is terrible and the morality of the act is left treacherously ambiguous.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The consequent pain, anger, and confusion on all sides disrupts the standard martyrology of the genre and exposes the ordinary human wreckage that can follow even the most extraordinary acts of heroism.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Bale dominates the movie as Dicky Eklund, a pathetic loudmouth who's let his own fight career slip away from him, yet what really holds this together is Wahlberg's low-key, firmly internalized performance as a man torn between his loyalty to the clan and his responsibility to himself.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Sentimental, obvious, but well-nigh irresistible, this jubilant comedy equates England's bland cuisine with its sexual inhibition and suggests we could all use something a little more tasty (at dinnertime, that is).
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Johnston's childish, repetitive tunes prove that he's no Brian Wilson (or even Roky Erickson), which makes you wonder whether Feuerzeig is examining the singer's exploitation or participating in it.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Depardieu brings such easygoing authority to the title character that you're pulled into the investigation, even as Bellamy becomes increasingly bewildered by his home life.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Persuasively re-creates the experience of sailing aboard a British man-o'-war during the Napoleonic era, but its story never attains comparable grandeur.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    In the end I didn't believe in their relationship, but I was pleased to see Keaton tearing it up for two hours.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The movie might have amounted to no more than a sunny eco-parable, but it begins to bite harder when the catadores, captivated by their sudden importance, face the unhappy prospect of returning to their previous existence.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    So playful and imaginative that only at the very end -- in a metafictional tag about their project's success on the festival circuit -- does its narcissism become off-putting.
    • 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
    In this 2006 entry the insights are worthwhile.
    • 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.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The result is highly entertaining but hardly ranks with the director's best work; a dramatic subplot involving the money guy and his corrupt father (a disengaged Jack Nicholson) never gains traction.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The language has been changed to English, of course, which is the only real reason this movie exists; the story development, desolate tone, and key set pieces are mostly copied from the original movie, which in turn was based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Cruise holds the center of the film with a sharply focused performance, though his bonding with the wise samurai chieftain (Ken Watanabe) is noticeably more ardent than his soggy romance with the stoic wife of a man he killed in combat.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The special effects are incredible, blah blah blah, but oddly, the most effective element here is the original movie's striking visual design-everything pitch black except for the luminescent piping on the costumes and foreground objects-which was inspired by the primitive arcade games of the early 80s.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Sam Rockwell plays the brother, and in his handful of scenes he skillfully tracks the character's slow decay from cocky loudmouth to thoroughly beaten man; Swank, delivering her usual spunky turn, suffers badly by comparison.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The two leads keep the movie afloat with their light-footed class warfare. This Anglican buddy romance is buoyed by a spicy history lesson about the scandalous marriage of the duke's elder brother, Edward VIII, to the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This time the quest plot involves Asian-American pals Harold and Kumar chasing after a Christmas tree to replace one they've accidentally burned down, but that's only an excuse for the relentless barrage of tasteless gags, most of them damned funny.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Occasionally cloying, but the distinguished British cast (Anna Massey, Robert Lang, Georgina Hale, Millicent Martin) generates considerable gravitas.
    • 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."
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    For a family picture this is still superior.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The result, though clearly flawed, is passionate and ambitious, celebrating that long-gone era when a book of verse could spark a revolution in consciousness.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    I appreciated its cogent history lesson, which details China's brutal treatment of Tibetan nationals from the late 1940s through the Cultural Revolution and into the '80s, when it executed 15,000 dissidents.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This documentary about the public education crisis isn't as smart or rigorous as Bob Bowdon's shoestring production "The Cartel," which arrived in town earlier this year and quickly vanished. But the new movie is still an admirable exercise in straight talk.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Like the Coens’ protagonist in "The Man Who Wasn’t There," Stuhlbarg is driven to an existential crisis, but in contrast to the earlier movie, with its tired noir moves, this one is earnestly engaged in the question of what constitutes a life well lived.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Harrelson returns in Moverman's second feature playing a similar character, a bullheaded LAPD officer whose long career with the force is unraveling amid a succession of brutality complaints, and although the role offers the same macho quotient as the earlier one, it's counterbalanced in this case by funny, observant scenes of his gyno-centric home life.
    • 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.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This isn't all gold--there are lame riffs on a booze-swilling dog and a flabby old man with a boner--but it's well above average.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Steven Sebring spent a decade making this documentary about the punk poet, and it shows.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This dazzling CGI feature by DreamWorks Animation appropriates the vivid undersea psychedelia of "Finding Nemo," though in contrast to that movie, the father-son parable here is just an excuse to burlesque "The Godfather" for the 100th time.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The movie brushes against some of India's worst social ills, but it's essentially a fairy tale.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Robert Wieckiewicz is good as the conflicted protagonist, but the most valuable player here is cinematographer Jolanta Dylewska, who turns in handsome work even though most of the action transpires in inky blackness.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    A heart-wrenching performance from Brenda Blethyn sustains this 2009 drama by French writer-director Rachid Bouchareb.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves are both such guarded celebrities that I have a hard time imagining them as lovers, a problem this Chicago-based romantic fantasy surmounted by isolating them from each other almost entirely.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Its mix of personal reminiscence (Mario made his screen debut playing Sweetback as a boy) and cultural history is fascinating. This engages in a fair amount of mythmaking itself, but its lesson in self-empowerment is both vivid and sincere.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Cagey low-budget horror flick.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Berman delicately unravels the silent resentments festering in the latchkey home, but the pain is leavened by his droll sense of humor.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The story is inspiring and involves sports, but to call it an inspirational sports story would be wrong; its real center is Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock in a fine performance), the strong-willed woman whose love and generosity helped turn a mute, hopeless boy with no social or academic skills into a functioning young man with a promising future.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The real standout is Kevin Kline as secretary of war Edwin Stanton.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This is well worth seeing for Bening's arresting, unpleasant performance.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The show ends with a moving declaration of faith by the star, who was raised in the church, but there's no denying that his funniest moments spring from impulses that are less than charitable.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    Her (Westfedlt) directing debut is a funny and emotionally credible.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Being taken under Apatow's wing may have been a big career break for writer-director David Wain, but this lacks the sharp personality of some of his earlier movies.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    It's still fun to watch, but the first one was better.
    • 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."
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    It's the epitome of an embedded war report, though Rademacher's at-ease scenes with the soldiers have some of the warmth and terse humor of Ernie Pyle's, and there's some hair-raising footage of a machine-gun firefight.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Though the movie isn’t much to look at, he (Siegel) gets a credibly dark and pathetic performance from the typically comic Oswalt.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Partly funded by the Humane Society, this gripping documentary by Michael Webber rips the lid off a scandal that periodically turns up on local newscasts but then disappears from public consciousness.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The movie's sexual politics couldn't be more regressive--Crudup learns to be a man in the sack as well as on the boards--but it's still a competent middlebrow costume drama.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Thoughtful and impressively mounted.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Portrayed ad infinitum in sci-fi and fantasy, the postapocalypse may now seem about as scary as Post Raisin Bran, but Hillcoat gives it an unnerving solidity by focusing on the drab details of survival and linking them to the more hellish aspects of modern American life.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Unlike many other purveyors of hip comedy, they're consistently clever without being contemptuous of their audience.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Even in its truncated state, this is pretty gripping stuff; just think of it as an epic commercial for the director's cut DVD.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Some have called this neo-noir, but aside from the setting there’s nothing "neo" about it; as in classic noir, the characters are slowly but surely ensnared by their own baser impulses.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Gentle, low-key first feature.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Making his feature directing debut, Hoffman shows considerable generosity toward the other players, which was probably a good idea given his own listless performance as the mumbling title character.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Winterbottom, a Brit who's shot several films in India, carefully notes the local customs and mores that contribute to the young woman's tragic fall.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The long odds against Smith only make his unexpected surge against Carnahan more exciting, and Popper sticks close to the fierce campaigner and his young, mostly inexperienced staffers, capturing all the energy, idealism, dour humor, and unreasoning hope of a Cinderella candidacy.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This remake is good fun, aided in no small degree by Colin Farrell's strutting, dead-eyed performance as the bloodsucker.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Clooney directed with an actor's appetite for vivid star turns, and he certainly gets them from Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Paul Giamatti.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    A fascinating allegory of modern-day Iran.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Chanodr has said that he wanted to portray the 2008 financial meltdown in all its complexity, assigning everyone a fair share of the blame. But the real strength of his debut feature is how persuasively it depicts the fishbowl world of high finance, whose executives seem incapable of seeing past their towering salaries and privileged lives.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Vincent Cassel sets a new standard for Gallic cool as the title character.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The racial satire is about as subtle as a sledgehammer, but there's something exhilarating about so blunt a weapon being swung with such wild abandon.
    • 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.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The thing runs more than two hours, but this is the sort of project that's indemnified against charges of excess.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Reitman deserves credit for going through with a bitterly ironic ending, but the movie is marred by its warm condescension toward flyover country.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The Departed is completely engrossing, a master class in suspense. But in moral terms it may be the least involving story that Scorsese -- an artist much preoccupied with morality -- has ever taken on.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Eleven years on, someone in Hollywood has finally worked up the nerve to address the LA riots--but only on the slickest terms imaginable.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    A beguiling combination of agrarian ode and “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” deepened by Peterson's square sincerity as he struggles to find himself in relation to his family's land.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The general tone is one of crusty, unapologetic misanthropy, driven home by the formidable Rudd (who also kicked in on the script).
    • 46 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The ugly emotional mess is so respectfully handled that the story resonates far beyond its comic designs.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Vince Vaughn in a wonderfully low-key performance.

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