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 2.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

J.R. Jones' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 Avatar
Lowest review score: 0 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Score distribution:
1480 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    The founding of Facebook becomes a tale for our times in this masterful social drama.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Captivating, mesmerizing, spellbinding.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Most impressive, Cantet tracks the racial and ethnic resentments that simmer beneath the classroom discussions but become harder to quell when the parents get involved.
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Winter's Bone often seems to be unfolding in a world apart, with its own moral logic and codes of conduct. It might feel like prison if it weren't so obviously home.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Some have compared this French crime drama to "The Godfather," and though that may be a common critical touchstone, writer-director Jacques Audiard manages to replicate its most elusive element, not the dark comedy or the operatic bloodletting but the incremental corruption of a decent man into a willful, coldhearted killer.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Zhang weaves in both thrilling martial-arts set pieces and stunning studies of period silk tapestry and costume.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    In archival photos Petit seems to float between the towers, a tiny black figure against a vivid blue sky; the images are all the more poignant for the unstated fact that Petit is still around when the buildings aren't.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    As clever as he is crude, Cohen alchemizes bad-taste comedy into Strangelovean satire.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Ferguson is admirably tenacious in assigning blame for the boneheaded mistakes that have doomed Iraqi reconstruction. Paul Bremer, former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, is hung out to dry.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The emotion here is genuine, but the outlook is tough: in Bahrani's movies we're all aliens to each other.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The premise of this South Korean import may call to mind that of another, Bong Joon-ho's recent suspense film "Mother," but Poetry is another bird entirely: true to the title, writer-director Lee Chang-dong is principally concerned with rendering emotions that seem inexpressible.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    A winner of the Cannes film festival's Un Certain Regard prize, this stayed with me, though I wasn't always happy to stay with it; the incessant braying of sheep, camels, and children may send you racing from the theater in search of the nearest martini lounge.
    • 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
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    "American Casino" and Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" offered more striking images of the human wreckage, but Ferguson is more successful at nailing the perpetrators in New York and their gullible accomplices in Washington.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    One of cinema's most absorbing fantasies.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Given the breadth of the story, the characters never achieve much depth, but they're part of a larger pattern: the younger ones are eager to find their way into the organization while the older ones are desperate to find their way out
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The Warners-style slapstick and gentle Anglophilia charms children and adults alike, but what kills me are the fingerprint ridges that fade in and out of the characters' mugging faces, a reassuring reminder that handmade art can still captivate.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    Exhilarating.
    • 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.)
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The movie brushes against some of India's worst social ills, but it's essentially a fairy tale.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    French filmmaker Agnes Varda returns to the guiding metaphor of "The Gleaners and I "(2000), her documentary about scavengers, though in this visually witty 2008 memoir she's poring over her own past and its artifacts--some of them people.
    • 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.
    • 86 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.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This adaptation of Robert Ludlum's third and last Bourne thriller doesn't have much story left, so director Paul Greengrass has to keep it moving all the time.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Born in Hamburg to Turkish parents, director Fatih Akin brought an unusual cultural perspective to "Head On" about a marriage of convenience between a beautiful Turk and a suicidal German. In The Edge of Heaven, his first dramatic feature since then, the characters navigate the same cultural divide, but here Akin is more preoccupied with the sense of responsibility that links parents to their children (or vice versa).
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Disappointment, delusion, dementia, death--did I mention this is a comedy?
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Funny, honest, and generous, this is mainstream American comedy at its best.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Wise, gentle, and simply constructed.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Given what Young charges for concert tickets, all his organs could be gold. So I was even more grateful for this documentary of his August 2005 shows at the fabled Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, expertly directed by Jonathan Demme.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Coogan delivers a winning comic performance as the pompous impresario, but his story has little dramatic momentum of its own; he functions mostly as a pedantic narrator, imposing some cultural significance on the endless party and pointing out more intriguing personalities.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Atonement is that rare combo: a good movie based on a good book.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    On its deepest level it considers not a particular war but the complex feelings between mothers and the young men they send out into the world to kill or be killed.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The movie premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, too soon to include a tragic denouement: in April the U.S. command surrendered the Korangal Valley to the Taliban.
    • 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. 
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    A trio of finely observant performances graces this quiet drama.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    This seventh installment is utterly fascinating.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    Extraordinary 2008 French drama.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    This quiet, elegiac road movie hinges on a few beautifully underplayed scenes between Daniel London and Will Oldham.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    It's a hell of a show, though none of the artists gets more than a single number, and most of Chappelle's comic interludes are half-baked. Funnier and more engaging are his perambulations around the neighborhood.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    This slam-bang remake of a 1963 feature by Eichi Kudo builds slowly, accumulating characters and themes, then explodes into a prolonged and masterful battle sequence inside a deserted town.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Robert Duvall, who played a similar character in Bruce Beresford's "Tender Mercies" (1983), turns up in a supporting role.
    • 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
    Given the movie's slow, careful development, I was hardly prepared for the cold-sweat suspense of the last half hour.
    • 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).
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    In this littered environment there's no such thing as trash, only salvage, and the biggest threat to the siblings' humanity is a creeping tendency to think of themselves as commodities as well.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    This may be light family entertainment, but it's also a pleasingly perverse celebration of Victorian morbidity.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 J.R. Jones
    After directing three Spider-Man movies, Sam Raimi makes a masterful return to the horror genre.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    You may not leave the theater having switched sides, but you'll probably respect the other side more, and that in itself would be a victory for human life.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The resulting portrait shows a seriously troubled man whose brutality was bred into him on the punishing streets of Brooklyn and whose modest wisdom seems as hard-won as any title. Tyson's fight career may be over, but his battle with himself has many rounds to go.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    This 2004 video documentary by Werner Herzog arrives in town while his hair-raising "Grizzly Man" is still playing, and it's a fascinating companion piece even though his manipulations are more obvious.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Into this cauldron walks the title character, a gentle Algerian refugee with his own history of terrible loss, and as he tries to take over the dead woman's class, his rocky relationship with the kids pushes both him and them to new levels of empathy, understanding, and forgiveness.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The dialogue is multilingual but largely incidental to the action; the physical comedy is gracefully rendered and often magical.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Davies adapted a classic 1952 play by Terence Rattigan, whose centenary is being celebrated in Britain this year, and though you might have trouble sorting out the film's competing levels of authorship, one element attributable solely to Davies is the strategic use of music and quiet on the soundtrack.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    This is superior family entertainment--warm, thoughtful, and connected to the landscape.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    This is a drama of shifting values and compromised ideals, arriving at a view of life that's wise, complicated, and tinged with melancholy.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The movie flames to life whenever Donald Sutherland moves into frame as the young ladies' relaxed, humorous, and magnificently rueful father.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    After trying her hand at Thackeray with "Vanity Fair," director Mira Nair has found a literary property much closer to her heart: Jhumpa Lahiri's best-selling novel about a Bengali couple and their children trying to find their place in American culture.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    Gervasi has tapped into a powerful if much-overlooked truth: humanity rocks.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    The Scandinavian moodiness of the first half gives way to a series of jolting set pieces in the second.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 J.R. Jones
    A triumph not of reporting but of synthesis.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    There’s no denying this is a coldly commanding tale in which Haneke’s signature obsessions--bourgeois control, sexual repression, emotional cruelty, cathartic violence--simmer quietly as subtext before bursting into the open in the final reels.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    It's not a terribly disciplined exercise--the rehearsal dinner and wedding ceremony go on so long I felt like I was watching "The Deer Hunter"--but the performances are outstanding, especially Hathaway's and Debra Winger's in a small but devastating turn as her chilly, resentful mother.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The moral dilemmas are perfectly fused with the amped-up action and outsize characters, but they're impossible to miss: like all of us, the people of Gotham have to protect themselves from evil without falling prey to it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    A first-rate thriller, maintaining a high level of suspense.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The Maid may turn mostly on issues of housework, but it never feels trivial, because Silva is so skillful in exposing the alliances and levers of power inside the household.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Michael Sheen, who adds to his gallery of public figures (Tony Blair, David Frost) with a sharp performance here as the legendary UK soccer coach Brian Clough.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 J.R. Jones
    Jason Reitman follows his pitch-perfect satire "Thank You for Smoking" with another adventurous comedy, though here the cleverness can be grating; the movie is distinctive for its complicated emotions.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 J.R. Jones
    The performances are so gripping that the movie works despite its diagrammatic structure, which focuses on ironic rhymes between past and present and leaves out the entirety of the couple's marriage.

Top Trailers